ABU DHABI: Sri Lanka batters played with freedom and flair to set up a daunting 190-run target for the West Indies in the T20 World Cup here on Thursday.
The pitches in Abu Dhabi have proved to be the best across the three venues and in-form Pathum Nissanka (51 off 41) and Charith Asalanka (68 off 41) enjoyed batting on the surface, taking Sri Lanka to 189 for three with a 91-run stand.
Nissanka played some outrageous strokes en route his third half-century of the tournament.
If the switch hit was not bold enough, the opener walked way across the off stump to whip Ravi Rampaul towards backward square leg for a boundary.
Asalanka too struck a sublime half-century and one of the highlights of his innings was a straight slog sweep off Dwayne Bravo for a six.
While Sri Lanka are already out of the tournament, the West Indies need to win tonight to keep their slim semi-final hopes alive.
The defending champions are also dependant on other teams for their passage into the semi-final.
With nothing to lose, Sri Lankan batters played to their promising potential and made the West Indies attack look pedestrian.
They also displayed that the future of Sri Lankan batting is in capable hands and with more experience at the highest level, they will only get better.
Sri Lanka made 48 for one in the Powerplay with the loss of Kusal Perera, who played well for his 29 off 21 balls.
Andre Russell took a brilliant catch to dismiss him. Nissanka and Asalanka then got together and with their free flowing strokeplay, put the West Indies attack under tremendous pressure.
After Nissanka's dismissal, Asalanka went ballistic.
In the 18th over, he slog swept Bravo for a straight six before smoking one over the bowler's head for a boundary.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka also chipped in with an unbeaten 25 off 14 balls in the death overs.