Chaminda Vaas lost his nerve, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul kept his, and struck a four and a six off the last two balls to hand West Indies a sensational one-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the first One-day International on Thursday.
Chasing 236 for victory from their allocation of 50 overs, West Indies entered the final over at Queen’s Park Oval needing 13 runs to win.
Sri Lanka turned to Vaas, their most experienced bowler, to deliver the last over, and he restricted the West Indies last wicket pair of Chanderpaul and batting bunny Fidel Edwards to three runs from the first four balls of the over.
But Vaas, whose line and length had been unerring throughout the match, delivered a full length delivery and Chanderpaul drove him through mid-off for four.
Sri Lanka would still have favored their chances with West Indies needing a six off the last ball when Vaas ran up and delivered a full toss which Chanderpaul duly dispatched over the wide long-on boundary to spark massive celebrations in the stands.
Chanderpaul was undefeated on 62 from 63 balls which included five fours and one six.
The victory gives West Indies a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
A record sixth-wicket stand of 159 between Chamara Silva and Chamara Kapugedera had helped Sri Lanka reach a respectable 235 for seven off their 50 overs, after they were sent in to bat on a hard, true pitch under partly cloudy skies.
Kapugedera struck seven fours and three sixes in the top score of 95 from 117 balls and Silva collected seven boundaries in 67 from 96 balls to get Sri Lanka back on course, after Dwayne Bravo triggered a slump that restricted them to 49 for five in the 15th over.
Then openers Chris Gayle and Devon Smith emerged from an uneasy start to give West Indies a solid foundation of 53 for the first wicket.
Kulasekera made the breakthrough, when he gained a dubious lbw verdict to dismiss Smith for 14, but television replays showed the delivery had pitched outside the line of the leg-stump and umpire Clive Duncan may have erred with his judgement.
Sri Lanka were made to toil for almost 13 overs before they got another wicket, as Ramnaresh Sarwan joined Gayle and they added 56 for the second wicket.
But Sri Lanka savored a purple patch, when they captured three wickets in the space of seven balls to leave West Indies 110 for four in the 28th over.
ODI newcomer Ajantha Mendis had Gayle lbw for 52 with the last ball of the 27th over, Sarwan was caught behind for 35 off the third ball of the next over from Kulasekera, who also had Marlon Samuels adjudged lbw for a duck off the last ball of the same over.
But Sri Lanka could not turn the screws, as Dwayne Bravo joined Chanderpaul and added 59 for the fifth wicket to put West Indies back on track before he was run out in the 39th over for 36.
Sri Lanka looked to have collared West Indies, when the home team lost five wickets between the 45th and 49th overs before the real party started with Chanderpaul’s mighty blow.