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28-Jan-2018 08:56:00 GMT
2018 ICC Under-19 World Cup

Sri Lanka win Plate despite nervy finish

Sri Lanka 255 for 7 (Boyagoda 116, Lakshan 98) beat West Indies 254 for 5 (Athanaze 110) by three wickets

Lincoln: Sri Lanka lose 31/7 before clinging on for victory in the U19 Cricket World Cup Plate Final against West Indies

If the water bottles were tampered with, there was something in the mix for both teams. Both were responsible for the fluctuation, Sri Lanka inexplicably panicking, and West Indies finding their mislaid spirit.

At the stoppage, Sri Lanka were 203/0, needing 52 from 84 balls. Hasitha Boyagoda had passed his hundred, Dhananjaya Lakshan was nearing one of his own, and the result seemed a formality.

Boyagoda spooned to Jarion Hoyte to Nyeem Young at mid off. Nishan Madushka was run out, then Jehan Daniel, and then Lakshan, trying to reach his hundred with a boundary and relieve some pressure, was caught at mid off as well.

All of a sudden a stroll had turned into a contest, and it was only made closer when Bhaskar Yadram bowled a double wicket maiden, removing Kamindu Mendis and Ashen Bandara.

Runs were coming, but slowly, and the game tightened again when with six to win, Nawanidu Fernando tried to finish it in one blow and was well caught on the boundary.

A chipped four to end the 49th over left Sri Lanka one to win, and seemed to have settled the matter. Three dot balls to start the 50th unsettled it. And then a rushed single, and jubilant celebrations, and the inevitable result finally transpired.

The finish is why the game will be remembered, but it was set up by a trio of special performances that deserve not to be forgotten in the maelstrom.

Hasitha Boyagoda was exceptional, once again, playing an innings that was at least the equal of his record breaking 191 against Kenya.

Scoring all round the ground, with an array of sweeps and scoops allowing him to find space behind the wicket, he seemed entirely at ease until he was dismissed. He must have thought with the game won he had licence. He couldn't have known.

And he was ably supported by Dhananjaya Lakshan, who almost joined him on two hundreds for the tournament, rotating the strike and allowing his more aggressive partner to have his way, while also chipping in himself with 12 fours and a six.

Then there was Alick Athanaze’s wonderful unbeaten hundred, his second of the tournament, which held the West Indies innings together.

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