Gayle injured as West Indies win in T20 at a cost

BANGALORE (India) • Andre Fletcher and A.B. de Villiers gave masterclasses in batting at cricket's World Twenty20 on Sunday as the West Indies made it two wins from two and South Africa got their first points on the board.

The 28-year-old Fletcher smashed an unbeaten 84, including five sixes and six fours, as the West Indies successfully chased down Sri Lanka's limp 122-9 without destructive opener Chris Gayle.

A West Indies team representative said the 36-year-old had an injury that was "not major" but it raises questions about how much of the remaining tournament he can play.

An unimpressed crowd at Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium repeatedly chanted "We want Gayle, We want Gayle", anxious to see the Jamaican, who has played several seasons for the city's team in the Indian Premier League.

He teased the crowd by stepping out of the bunker with his bat after the third wicket fell, bringing roars from them, only to walk back in.

Fletcher insisted he was not trying to steal Gayle's limelight after his ferocious knock.

"I don't think anybody in the world can take his (Gayle's) place," the make-shift opener, who was the Man of the Match, said. "I'm (just) grateful for the opportunity to bat."

The West Indies are one of the weakest teams in Test cricket, but they remain a force in cricket's shortest format and are gunning for their second World T20 title after winning the trophy in 2012.

Defending champions Sri Lanka have been struggling for form since winning the trophy two years ago, slumping to a world No. 7 ranking.

All-rounder Thisara Perera top-scored for the islanders with 40, but their batting did not measure up to the West Indies' disciplined bowling, with leg-spinner Samuel Badree tallying 3-12.

Earlier at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, de Villiers' quick-fire 64 propelled South Africa to 209-5 and a 37-run win over Afghanistan.

The right-handed batsman smashed five sixes and four fours in his 29-ball knock.

West Indies sit top of Group One on four points, with South Africa, Sri Lanka and England all on two. They play South Africa in Nagpur on Friday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2016, with the headline 'Gayle injured as West Indies win in T20 at a cost'. Print Edition | Subscribe