Sri Lanka 338 for 6 (Avishka 104, Kusal Perera 64, Thirimanne 54*, Holder 2-59) beat West Indies 315 for 9 (Pooran 118, Allen 51, Malinga 3-55) by 23 runs
It was an entertaining and competitive affair between two eliminated teams Sri Lanka and West Indies in their World Cup group stage match at Chester-le-Street and Sri Lanka eventually managed to win by 23 runs.
It was a match dominated by two sparkling centuries from Sri Lanka’s Avishka Fernando - the third youngest player to score a World Cup century - to take his team to 338/6 and by West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran, who scored his maiden ODI ton.
In the end it was a match of which team blinked first and made more mistakes and West Indies made two crucial errors while running between the wickets and one of them led to the demise of Fabian Allen, who scored his first ODI half century and formed an excellent 83-run partnership with Pooran to bring the Windies close to victory.
After winning the toss, Windies captain Jason Holder chose to field first but openers Kusal Perera can captain Dimuth Karunaratne got the Lankans off to a flier, as they have been doing this tournament and put on 91 runs for the opening wicket before Karunaratne was dismissed for 32 by his opposite number, Holder.
Kusal Perera was run out after reaching his half century a few later for 64 with the team score on 104/2 and a familiar Sri Lankan batting collapse loomed.
In came another Kusal, Kusal Mendis and formed a reassuring partnership with Avishka Fernando, who reached his fifty, before Kusal Mendis was gone for 39, with the team score on 189/3.
The experienced Angelo Mathews then came on and took the team score close to 250 before he was dismissed, bowled by a Jason Holder yorker for 26.
Another experienced player, Lahiru Thirimanne then helped partner Fernando to his century and take the total past 300.
Fernando was eventually dismissed by Sheldon Cotrell for 104 in an innings that had nine boundaries and two sixes.
Thirimanne continued his innings to take his team to a challenging total and he remained not out on 45 off just 33 balls.
In reply, the Windies lost the wickets of Sunil Ambris (5) and Shai Hope (5) to Lasith Malinga who was bowling with plenty of guile and using his experience well.
Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer then tried to get things back on track by Gayle then departed scoring a slow (by his standards) 35 off 48 balls.
More trouble would follow as Hetmyer was run-out a few overs later for 29 following a mixup with Pooran and a direct hit from Dhananjaya de Silva, with Windies at 84/4.
Jason Holder and Pooran then formed a 61-run partnership in quick time and just when Windies were starting to claw back in the game, Holder was dismissed for 26.
In-form big-hitting Carlos Brathwaite was in next, and Pooran then started to play his shots, allowing Brathwaite to settle after a nervy start.
Pooran completed his half century and scored the bulk of the runs in the partnership - 39 out of 54 - before Brathwaite was dismissed in the most unfortunate way.
With Pooran nailing a straight drive, bowler Isuru Udana managed to get a finger on the ball and it hit the stumps, as Brathwaite was run out at the non-striker’s end scoring just eight and the game seemed over.
But in came Fabian Allen and he immediately showed he could handle the Sri Lankan bowling as him and Pooran took the total past 250 and brought the equation down to 57 needed off 36 balls.
But then another mixup in running caused Allen to be run out for 51 off just 31 balls and once again Windies looked out of the race.
Pooran though was there on 99, and he completed his century the very next ball as he kept things going for the Windies, keeping with the required rate while also protecting the tail-ender Cottrell for the next few overs to bring the equation down to 31 runs off 18 balls.
With Malinga left with just one over, captain Karunaratne made the inspired decision of bringing in Angelo Mathews - a player that had not bowled in the last year-and-a-half because of hamstring issues - to bowl and he immediately brought the wicket of Pooran to end Windies’ hopes of a victory.
Although Sri Lanka are knocked-out, the win takes them up to eight points and above Bangladesh who are on seven points, at sixth spot.
Windies remain ninth on three points from eight games and they will play their last game against Afghanistan, who have not got any points and are placed tenth on Thursday.
This is the first time that two players aged under 25 have scored centuries in a World Cup game. Avishka Fernando is 21 years and 87 days while Nicholas Pooran is 23 years and 272 days.
Ireland’s Paul Stirling (20 years and 196 days) and Australia’s Ricky Ponting (21 years and 76 days) are the only two players that have scored World Cup centuries at a younger age than Avishka Fernando.