Gayle, Sangakkara hail Dilshan
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:CH Gayle, TM Dilshan, AD Mathews
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2009

DateLine: 20th June 2009


Rival captains Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakkara paid rich tributes to Sri Lanka's dazzling opener Tillakaratne Dilshan.


Both the skippers agreed to the fact that the openers knock made all the difference in the second semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 at The Oval.


Dilshan's unbeaten 96 off 57 balls helped Sri Lanka survive a mid-innings collapse and post 158/5, a score that proved beyond West Indies.


"I'm running out of superlatives," Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara gushed.


"He is a pioneer stroke-maker in this ICC World Twenty20. The best thing for us has been that over the last one-and-a-half years, he has come to understand his role in the side and has become more responsible and mature. Finally, he has come to understand how good he is," Sangakkara said.


Chris Gayle too had no hesitations in admitting the fact that Dilshan's knock took the game away from his side.


"We did not bowl badly but Dilshan took the game away with that magnificent batting. He was the only Sri Lankan among the runs. In this format, one man can change the match and he did it," Gayle said.


Dilshan though said that his idea was only to stay till the end.


"Once I got the start, I wanted to keep going until the end. I'm in good form over the last six months, I want to keep it going," said the batsman who was the obvious choice for the man-of-the-match award.


Sangakkara also hailed Angelo Mathews after the medium pacer took three wickets in his sensational first over and turned it a horror for West Indies.


"The ball was not coming on to the bat and it did not look a typical Oval wicket. But it proved the perfect pitch for us as we put up a good total and turned the screw on.


"Angelo's three strikes in the first over made it difficult for them. This was his first major tour with the team and what a performance!. You just cannot ask for more," Sangakkara said.


"To get three in the first over is a great start," he added.


Sangakkara said all he wanted was to deny West Indies a flying start and keep them on a leash in the Powerplay.


"I knew if we get first six overs pretty well, we have Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan to bank on," he said.


Sangakkara also cautioned his teammates saying the job still remains in the tournament.


"Hopefully we can go one more step in the tournament. For the final against Pakistan, we can take a lot of self-belief and confidence from this game.


"The idea would be to concentrate on the role we have and the basics. This philosophy has taken us this far and we need to be responsible on Sunday too and execute our plans," he added.


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