Kumar Sangakkara Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara plays a shot through the offside against England in their ICC Champions Trophy 2013 game, 13 JuneReuters

Sri Lanka put a rather heavy and impenetrable foot into the final of the tri-series by posting a comfortable 39-run win over a panicking West Indies side, who saw the Duckworth-Lewis method become their nemesis yet again.

Rain was the deciding factor over two days of ODI cricket, with Sri Lanka, led by Kumar Sangakkara, battling to 219 for eight from 41 overs.

Weather interruptions, which forced to match to go into the rest day, had far from helped either side build any sort of momentum and the Weather Gods would put a dent in West Indies' plans yet again.

After being down and out in the chase of 230 from 41 overs - the revised target via the D/L method - with West Indies on 31 for four at one point, Lendl Simmons, playing his first game since December last year, and Darren Bravo began a counter-attack which seriously raised hopes of a home victory and with it an entry into the finals.

However, with clouds hovering and rain looming large, Simmons decided to push his batting to an impossible sixth gear, trying to get to the D/L par score, but only leading to his demise.

The rain would eventually decide to relent and with it any chance of a West Indies comeback, as the home side ended on 190 for nine from 41 overs.

India now need to win big against Sri Lanka in the final match on Tuesday, with the Lankans well in control on 9 points from three matches and a far superior nett run rate of +1.019.

West Indies have the same number of points as Sri Lanka, but with a run rate of -0.383. India, who have five points in three matches - each team gets four points for a win and five for a victory with a bonus point - but an inferior nett run rate of -0.524.

If India can beat Sri Lanka with a bonus point then they will make the finals, otherwise they will have to rely on a reasonably big win to push their run rate past West Indies - either way, it is win or go home for India.

A poor start from the West Indies did not help matters in their run chase, with Chris Gayle, who started the tournament with a bang against Sri Lanka, falling for just 14, edging one to short third man off Angelo Mathews (four for 29).

Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels would fall in the next over to Shaminda Eranga (three for 46), before a couple of overs later Devon Smith would see his 14-ball 0-run stay come to a tame end via the bowling of Mathews.

West Indies required 189 runs from a little over 41 overs at that point, a far from easy task considering the nature of the wicket, although the pitch had eased up a little from the previous day, where it was spitting venom from all sorts of areas.

Sri Lanka, who lost Nuwan Kulasekara through injury early own, stuck to their task with Simmons taking a full 16 deliveries to just get off the mark.

However, as is so often the case in one-day cricket, the momentum swung West Indies' way in the blink of an eye as Simmons found his mojo and started smashing boundaries left, right and centre, with Daren Bravo (70, 84b, 4x4, 1x6) also chipping in nicely at the other end.

The duo put together 123 runs in 23.4 overs, and looked on course to taking their side to a win, when a slight drizzle and some dark clouds brought on the panic button.

Simmons (67, 78b, 5x4, 4x6), thinking that a rain delay might come about again and possible even cause the match to end, started upping the ante even more, smoking a couple of boundaries, with West Indies at that point in the 32nd over, some 14 runs behind the par score.

However, one too many an expansive shot led to Simmons holing out to deep point off Eranga, starting the West Indies cookie crumbling exercise.

Kieron Pollard, almost as expected, failed to trouble the scorers, edging one off Lasith Malinga - it was his third duck in four innings - before Darren Sammy, Bravo and Jason Holder fell in quick succession.

Kemar Roach, who picked up an impressive four wickets in the first innings, and Tino Best held on in the final overs, but could not get their side anywhere near the target as Sri Lanka celebrated a big win.

Earlier, Sangakkara's 95-ball 90 (6x4, 1x6) was enough for Sri Lanka to push the score beyond 200, and that too despite Lahiru Thirimanne's 23-run effort from a massive 73 balls.

Mathews contributed nicely with a 27-ball 30 before Sangakkara kicked into top gear towards the end to propel his side to what proved to be a winning total.

Quick Links