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Sri Lanka end WIndies’ World T20 defence

Sri Lanka have put paid to defending champions West Indies’ slim hopes of advancing to the semi-finals with an emphatic 20-run victory in their last T20 World Cup match.

Young batters Charith Asalanka (68) and Pathum Nissanka (51) toyed with the seven-man West Indies attack in raising Sri Lanka’s highest total of 3-189 in their final Group One game on Thursday by slamming powerful half-centuries.

In reply, West Indies, who won the toss and elected to field, lost their power hitters cheaply before getting restricted to 8-169.

Shimron Hetmyer narrowed the defeat with a fighting unbeaten 81 off 54 balls, but Sri Lanka always looked favourites to finish on a winning note.

“We are not going to hide from the fact that it’s been disappointing for us,” said West Indies captain Kieron Pollard.

“I’m sure all the guys are hurting in that dressing room. It’s something we didn’t see coming, but we have to face the reality.

His Sri Lankan counterpart Dasun Shanka, though, was left delighted. “These youngsters have been working hard, so I’m really happy,” he said.

“They worked really hard for this. They have a long career ahead and a lot of good cricket to come.”

The 42-year-old Chris Gayle could score only one and Andre Russell made just nine for the ailing champions.

The world’s new No.1 T20 bowler, legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga clean bowled Dwayne Bravo (1) and Pollard for zero en route to recording impressive figures of 2-19.

“(Hasaranga) is a gem. He’s a superstar in the making,” Shanaka said.

“There’s a lot of cricket to be played, we have to protect him as well (but) as a captain, I back him in every situation.”

Inexperienced Sri Lanka bowed out of the tournament with four points, having defeated Bangladesh and West Indies while losing to England, South Africa and Australia.

Two-time champions West Indies, having a solitary win over Bangladesh, take on Australia in their last group game on Saturday.

“We have spoken time and time again, especially from a batting perspective, what we need to do as individuals and we have not done well,” Pollard said.

“A couple of young guys are putting up their hands but the experienced guys, myself included, have not done well.”

The West Indies’ most experienced bowler Bravo was smashed for 42 off his four overs.

Hetmyer, who hit eight fours and four sixes, narrowed the margin of defeat in the last three overs through some big hitting against fast bowler Chamika Karunaratne (2-43) and Dushmantha Chameera (1-41).

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