West Indies 134 for 7 (Simmons 26, Pooran 23, Sandakan 3-29) beat Sri Lanka 131 for 4 (Chandimal 54*, Bandara 44*, Allen 1-13) by three wickets
Fabian Allen shone with both bat and ball, affecting the game at the start and finish, as the West Indies secured a hard-fought three-wicket win against Sri Lanka in the deciding third T20I in Antigua and clinched the series 2-1.
After registering figures of 1 for 13 from his four overs – three of which had come in a powerplay period that saw Sri Lanka score 27 runs for the loss of three wickets – Allen applied the finishing touches with the bat to seal the game for West Indies.
His six-ball 21, inclusive of three sixes off Akila Dananjaya in the 19th over, came when Sri Lanka sniffed a chance, created once again by their bevvy of spinners.
Chasing a modest 132, the home side looked to have got off to the ideal start, registering 53 for 1 in the powerplay. But the Sri Lanka spinners once again proved a handful and pegged West Indies back.
Wanindu Hasaranga was once again the main threat and dismissed Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons to finish with figures of 2 for 13. Lakshan Sandakan (3 for 29) and Dushmantha Chameera (2 for 23) also reaped the benefits of the pressure created by Hasaranga but with a target that low, the West Indies batsman knew they just needed one bowler they could target, and they found that in Dananjaya.
After his redemption in the second T20I following his mauling at the hands of Kieron Pollard in the opening game, Dananjaya struggled with his control this time around as he went wicketless in his four overs and gave away 53 runs.
Earlier, an unbeaten stand of 85 – Sri Lanka’s highest in T20Is for the fifth wicket – between Dinesh Chandimal and Ashen Bandara had dragged the visitors to a respectable, if not quite competitive, 131 for 4.
After the spin of Allen and Kevin Sinclair had limited Sri Lanka inside the powerplay, the West Indian seamers took over. On a surface that was even slower than those in the first two games, the hosts almost exclusively dealt in slower deliveries, forcing the Sri Lanka batsmen to grind out for runs.
It was only because of some late hitting from Bandara that ensured the visitors scored as much as they did, but despite the best efforts of their spinners, it was always unlikely to be enough – especially with the number of match-winners the West Indies have in their ranks.
Full report to follow…
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.