For the second time in this World Cup a brilliant hundred from a West Indian batsman was not enough to chase down a stiff target. Against New Zealand it was Carlos Brathwaite who couldn’t quite get his team over the line. In this match it was Nicholas Pooran who scored a brilliant 118 from 102 balls but he fell in the 38th over with 31 runs still needed.
This was Pooran’s first hundred of his professional career, and one that came so close to securing his team a win. It was a remarkable comeback for the West Indies after Sri Lanka had batted first and put on an impressive 338/6 off their 50 overs.
The star in the Sri Lankan innings was Avishka Fernando who made a brilliant 104 from 103 balls to help his team to their biggest total of this World Cup so far. He was well supported by Kusal Perera (64) and Lahiru Thiramanne (46) as Sri Lanka seemed to have batted West Indies out of the game.
The West Indies chase did start well with Sunil Ambris and Shai Hope both falling early to leave the Caribbean side 22/1. When Chris Gayle fell for 35 the West Indies were 75/3 and a rebuilding job was needed. Pooran provided that as he started patiently and built towards his career best score.
The issue for Pooran was that wickets continued to fall at the other end. Shimron Hetmyer hung around for a while before he was run out for 29, Jason Holder looked to keep Pooran company before he was caught off the bowling of Jeffrey Vandersay for 26. By the time Carlos Braithwaite was run out for eight runs it seemed as if the game was over.
It was at this point that the West Indian chase came to life. A stand of 83 between Pooran and Fabian Allen (51) seemed to be swaying the chase back toward West Indies. Even after Allen fell there still seemed to be hope with Pooran going strong. When he fell to the bowling of Angelo Mathews the match was gone, but he took his team real close.
West Indies final group game will see them take on Afghanistan on 4 July.