Match report: SL v Ind – 11th ODI
Hobart, Feb 28: Virat Kohli played a spellbinding knock (133* off 86 balls, 16x4, 2x6) to give India a sensational win against Sri Lanka in their CB series encounter played at the Bellerive Oval here in Hobart. The staggering win keeps India’s chances of qualifying for the tri-series finals alive.
Earlier, Sri Lanka reached a mammoth score of 320 riding on twin centuries from Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara. After MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first, the Lankans got off to a steady start with Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene adding 49 for the opening wicket. Ravindra Jadeja, however, gave India their first breakthrough in the 12th over when he had Jayawardene caught at slip just when the Lankan captain was looking for a cheeky four down to third-man boundary.
With Jayawardene (22) gone, Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara set about scoring runs at a fast pace on a flat wicket. The two batsmen struck a 200-run stand, punishing the Indian bowlers for bowling loose deliveries that were often short in length. Both batsmen reached the three-figure mark to take their team to a position of strength; Dilshan brought up his 11th ODI century in 132 deliveries while Sangakkara took just 84 balls to record his 13th ODI century.
Sangakkara (105) was eventually dismissed by a fuller length delivery from Praveen Kumar with the Lankan score at 249 but Dilshan continued regardless. The Lankan opener smashed 60 runs off the last 33 balls that he faced to guide his side to a massive 320 for the loss of four wickets in 50 overs.
With India needing to win the game before the 40th over to keep their chances of making the finals alive, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag began the chase in perfect fashion. With one of the floodlight towers not functioning owing to a power failure at the start of the Indian innings, the Sachin-Sehwag show lit up the Bellerive Oval as India raced away to 50 in just 5.3 overs. When Sehwag (30 off 16) fell to a mistimed pull shot off Farveez Maharoof, Tendulkar continued the assault on the Lankans with a 30-ball 39. The Indian maestro was eventually felled by Lasith Malinga when he was struck plumb in front by the Lankan pacer with the Indian score at 86.
There was no stopping the Indians, though. After raising the 100-run mark in just 11.1 overs, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli batted with tremendous responsibility to keep India in the game. The two ran hard, hitting the odd ball to the fence in a 115-run stand that took India past 200.
However, with Gambhir (63 off 64) run out while attempting a difficult second run in the 28th over, and Indian needing 113 runs in 12 overs to qualify, Kohli and Suresh Raina dramatically upped the scoring rate. Nuwan Kulasekara’s 31st over went for 18 runs, while Lasith Malinga went for 24 in the 35th, as Kohli and Raina battered the Lankan bowlers into submission.
Kohli was the star of the show as India raised the victory mark four deliveries into the 37th over. The fearless youngster ended on an unbeaten 133 off just 86 deliveries. Suresh Raina, an able ally, remained unbeaten on 40.
As stunning as the win is, it isn’t enough to guarantee India a place in the CB Series finals. For India to qualify, Sri Lanka will need to lose their last league outing against Australia, on March 2. On the other hand, a Sri Lankan win, a tie, or a washout, in the final league game will take Sri Lanka ahead of India on points and into the finals against Australia.
Brief scores: India 321/3 in 36.4 overs (Virat Kohli 133*, Gautam Gambhir 63, Suresh Raina 40*, Farveez Maharaoof 1/21) beat Sri Lanka 320/4 in 50.0 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 160*, Kumar Sangakkara 105, Ravindra Jadeja 1/43) by seven wickets
Man-of-the-match: Virat Kohli for his blustery 133* off 86 balls which gave India a miracle victory while chasing 321 under 40 overs