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Sri Lanka reach T20 final after hailstorm in Mirpur

Groundsmen run to cover the pitch.

Groundsmen run to cover the pitch. Photo: AP

MIRPUR, Bangladesh  Sri Lanka sailed into the World Twenty20 final after bad weather literally poured cold water on West Indies' title defence in a rain-ruined contest on Thursday.

Chasing 161 for victory against the side they beat in the 2012 final, West Indies were 80 for four in 13.5 overs when the teams were forced off by a hailstorm and a wet outfield subsequently prevented any further play in the semi-final.

"(It's) disappointing to come out of a tournament like this," captain Darren Sammy told reporters.

"We had a good run but I'm sad that we got knocked out by the Duckworth-Lewis system."

Sri Lanka now face the winners of Friday's game between India and South Africa in Sunday's title showdown and will want to improve on their poor final record.

Over the past seven years Sri Lanka have lost in the final of the 50-over World Cup in 2007 and 2011 and World Twenty20 in 2009 and 2012.

Earlier, cameos from Lahiru Thirimanne (44), Angelo Mathews (40) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (39) led them to 160 for six at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

After opting to bat first, Lasith Malinga's team cruised to 40 for nought inside four overs before Kusal Perera (26) dragged a Krishmar Santokie delivery on to his stumps to trigger a collapse to 49 for three.

Mahela Jayawardene was run out without facing a ball and former captain Kumar Sangakkara fell for one to continue his woeful form in his last Twenty20 international competition.

Dilshan added 42 with Thirimanne to steady the innings before the opener was run out.

Thirimanne fell in the 17th over after a 35-ball knock that included two sixes and three fours.

Man of the match Mathews hit two sixes and three fours in his brisk 23-ball knock to take Sri Lanka past the 150-mark.

"(It) would have been great if we'd played the 20 overs. It would have been a good, close game but thanks to the weather we are in the final," said Mathews.

"We deserve to be in the final. We have played some good cricket."

West Indies did not get the flying start to their reply that was expected from their openers.

Chris Gayle, whose new-look approach of biding his time before exploding later has not really worked in this tournament, was removed for three.

Leading the side in place of regular Twenty20 skipper Dinesh Chandimal, fast bowler Malinga removed the dangerous Gayle with the first ball of his second over and fellow opener Dwayne Smith for 17 with the fifth delivery.

West Indies also lost Lendl Simmons for four before Dwayne Bravo (30) shared a 43-run stand for the fourth wicket with Marlon Samuels (18 not out).

Paceman Nuwan Kulasekara dismissed Bravo in the 14th over and then the weather intervened.

"It was like people were pelting stones at us," said Sammy of the hailstorm. "I have never seen something like that before." (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty, editing by Tony Jimenez)

Reuters

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