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Tharanga outshines Lara in Lanka win

Raipur: Sri Lanka Legends were off to a start that they would have wished for in the Unacademy Road Safety World Series as they got the better of West Indies Legends by five wickets to start the season on a high at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium on Saturday night.

It was Upul Tharanga’s heroic unbeaten half century — 53 off 36 balls — that saw the Lankans easily overhaul a modest target of 157 set by the West Indies.

The island team riding on Tharanga’s knock and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan’s responsible 47 saw them score 160 for five in the entertaining encounter which ended in the 19th over.

Other than the two, Chamara Silva played a cameo of a 15-ball 22 which was crucial in the chase.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya had a disappointing day as he scored just 12 runs.

Earlier, West Indian legend Brian Lara once again showed why class is permanent when he played a stylish captain’s knock of 53 not out (49b, 8×4) along with the dangerous Dwayne Smith to help their team reach a respectable total of 157 for four in 20 overs.

The contrasting batting style and partnership of 66 runs between Lara and Smith saw the Caribbeans bounce back from a bad start after being put into bat first by the Sri Lanka Legends.

The West Indies innings did not get off to a good start as they lost opener Narsingh Deonarine in the third over when the scoreboard read 3/1.

His partner William Perkins, who was aggressive in his approach, succumbed to another run out at the score of 38.

With two wickets down, West Indies needed a strong stand from Smith and Lara. And they exactly did what the script demanded.

Smith was the aggressive one between the two as he went on to slam a 27-ball 47 that included four boundaries and three sixes while Lara played the supporting act in the partnership.

When things looked in control for the West Indies, Smith played an unnecessary shot and ended up giving a catch to Dhamika Prasad off Chinthaka Jayasinghe in the 14th over.

The ship slowed down after Smith’s departure and it was up to Lara to take it to safety.

The stylish southpaw eventually slammed an unbeaten half century with little help from Tino Best (18 not out, 11b 3×4) that saw Windies post 157 for the loss of four wickets in 20 overs.

Brief scores: West Indies Legends 157/4 in 20 overs (Brian Lara 53* (49b, 8×4), Dwayne Smith 47 (27b, 4×4, 3×6)) lost to Sri Lanka Legends 160/5 in 19 overs (Upul Tharanga 53* (35b, 8×4), Tillakaratne Dilshan 47 (37b, 8×4), Sulaiman Benn 2/19) by 5 wickets.

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