Fantastic Fletcher keeps West Indies on track despite Gayle injury


Andre Fletcher proved a capable deputy for the injured Chris Gayle with a career-best unbeaten 84, propelling West Indies to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their World Twenty20 Super 10 meeting in Bangalore.

Gayle hit a 47-ball hundred in the Windies' opening win over England but picked up a hamstring issue while fielding as defending champions Sri Lanka posted 122-9, and the amount of time he spent off the field meant he was unable to open the batting.

But Fletcher, who replaced Jerome Taylor in the line-up, produced an astounding knock in his stead, clearing the ropes on 11 occasions - including five maximums - to propel the West Indies to victory, denying Royal Challengers Bangalore star Gayle an outing the local fans so desperately wanted to see.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (12) mounted a positive start for Sri Lanka by knocking Andre Russell for 10 from the first two balls he faced, but he was trapped leg before by Carlos Brathwaite (1-36) at the start of the fourth over.

Superb bowling from Samuel Badree (3-12) accounted for Chamara Kapugedera (6) and Milinda Siriwardana (0) in the same over, but captain Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera mounted a 44-run stand for the sixth wicket to give Sri Lanka some consistency.

Although Mathews (20) top-edged Dwayne Bravo (2-20) to Denesh Ramdin, Perera racked up two more fours and a boundary as the target was set at 123.

Sri Lanka may have been ruing the loss of former captain Lasith Malinga to a competition-ending knee injury when Fletcher started explosively by taking 12 runs off Mathews in the opening over.

Although Johnson Charles (10), Marlon Samuels (3) and Ramdin (5) fell cheaply, Fletcher kept motoring forward with a variety of shots, surviving a 16th-over exit when his nick behind was ruled to have bounced just before Chandimal caught it.

A poor drop from Nuwan Kulasekara denied Gayle a cameo by keeping Andre Russell in, and he rounded things off with a huge six off Perera (0-11).