Flash Fletcher keeps Windies unbeaten


The West Indies kept their World Twenty20 title aspirations on track on Sunday as they beat defending champions Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Bangalore, taking control of group 1 in the Super 10s.

Andre Fletcher's 84 not out was the key for the Windies, opening the batting in place of an injured Chris Gayle, and they chased down the 123 required with 10 balls to spare. Sri Lanka had battled to 122 for nine.

Having won the toss and putting Sri Lanka in to bat, the Windies immediately set about confounding their opponents, and the Power Play overs were a stark contrast to the high-scoring matches over the past few days.

While openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal both reached double figures, neither could pass 20 as the first six overs saw only 41 runs amassed. The pitch, combined with Sri Lanka's batting and running errors, worked in the maroon side's favour.

The only batsman to show any kind of resistance was Thisara Perera, who top scored with 40, while Angelo Mathews came in second place with 20. The Windies' slower bowling, Sam Badree (3/12) in particular, was impressive in the middle overs.

The fielding was also very good from the Windies, who showed their prowess in the format as they affected two run outs and a stumping, while also doing good work in the deep to save crucial singles.

The Windies' chase started to chants of 'We want Gayle!' as the opener sat in the medical room with a tweaked hamstring, leaving Fletcher, in the side as a replacement for Jerome Taylor, to open alongside Johnson Charles.

Fletcher wasted no time getting into Gayle's shoes though, despite the continued chants, and the Windies had their half century after eight overs. Charles was dismissed in that time though, bowled by Jeffrey Vandersay.

Fletcher recorded his half century in the 12th over, while two more wickets fell at the other end and Sri Lanka's spinners did a good containment job. There was excitement with three wickets down, when Gayle seemed set to come on.

But he was held back by officials, as he'd not served enough time off the field, having missed time in the middle while fielding. When Andre Russell went in to bat, Gayle still had 11 minutes, or two wickets, to wait.

Fletcher was seemingly out with his score on 70, caught behind. But the review for a fair catch showed that the ball bounced just before the keeper's gloves, though some felt it landed on the tips of Chandimal's gloves.

It was a run a ball required from then on out, and some poor fielding in the deep gave up some valuable runs as the Windies cruised home with the two Andres at the crease.