Sri Lanka survived a terrible batting collapse and held their nerves to defeat Windies by three wickets in a thriller at Bert Sutcliffe Oval and win the Plate Final to finish ninth in the Under-19 World Cup.
Chasing 255, Sri Lanka were cruising after a 218-run opening stand before things nearly went haywire. They slipped to 237 for 6 and then 249 for 7, before crossing the line in the last over with two balls to spare. In the end, Hasitha Boyagoda’s 116 and Dhahanjaya Lakshan’s 98 was just about enough for Sri Lanka.
The two openers seemed to have made light work of the chase as they raced away. Boyagoda was the aggressive partner and hit one six and 17 fours for his second century of the tournament, while Lakshan too hit a six and 12 fours as the partnership crossed 200.
The trouble started when Boyagoda fell in the 38th over, triggering a top-order collapse. The No. 3, 4 and 5 managed eight runs between them and when Lakshan too fell, missing his century by two runs, Sri Lanka were in trouble. Nuwanidu Fernando, the No. 6, hit two crucial boundaries, and although he fell in the penultimate over, Hareen Buddhila kept calm to take Sri Lanka over the line.
After being asked to bat, Windies got off to a good start with Keagon Simmons and Bhaskar Yadram adding 53 for the opening wicket within eight overs. However, a turn to spin did the trick for Sri Lanka as Praveen Jayawickrama, the left-arm spinner, triggered a mini collapse.
He had Yadram for a 20-ball 32 and Kimani Melius in quick succession, and with Simmons too following them to the hut soon, Windies were left in trouble at 63 for 3, having lost three wickets for 10 runs.
Alick Athanaze then led a recovery, along with Kirstan Kallicharan. The duo added 59 for the fourth wicket to put Windies back on track before the latter fell for 24 off 59 balls. Emmanuel Stewart, the Windies captain, too failed to capitalise on his start and fell for 11, leaving the job to Athanaze.
Athanaze did the job well, pushing on to bring up his second century of the tournament. He had good support from Brad Barnes, who remained unbeaten on 37 as Windies stretched the total past 250. It nearly proved to be enough.