Report: Ind vs SL - Celkon Mobile Cup
With an 81-run win over Sri Lanka under the Duckworth/Lewis method, India claimed a berth in the final of the ongoing tri-series. After losing their opening games in the competition to West Indies, India and Sri Lanka edged the hosts out to make their way into the title clash come Thursday. In fact, India ended up top of the table despite losing their first two matches this series.
In the rain-affected last league game at the Queen’s Park Oval, India were required to restrict SL to 167 to claim a place in the final, after the Angelo Mathews-led side were set a 178-run target from 26 overs under the D/L method.
With a place in the final of the tri-series at stake, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (6-1-8-4) accounted for four Sri Lankan wickets up front to put India on course to a big victory and a place in the final.
Earlier, after opting to bowl first, Mathews gave SL a crucial early breakthrough by removing Shikhar Dhawan with just 27 runs on the board. The left-hand batter nicked the ball to the slips, where Mahela Jayawardene pouched his 200th ODI career catch.
And a couple of overs later, SL would have had another wicket had Jeevan Mendis held on to a Rohit Sharma offering at point off Lasith Malinga. Rohit went on to anchor the Indian innings and take his team to 119 for three with a 48*, until heavy rain halted play.
The opener was involved in a 49-run partnership with Virat Kohli, before Rangana Herath struck to end that stand. The left-arm spinner trapped the stand-in India captain leg-before to bring Dinesh Karthik to the crease. The wicketkeeper-bat got off the mark with a six off the bowler, who received similar treatment from Rohit Sharma. However, a while later, Herath dislodged Karthik’s bails.
Suresh Raina then joined forces with Rohit to carry the innings forward. But a couple of overs later, rain interrupted play and forced the innings to draw to a close after 29 overs.
With a place in the final at stake, Kumar came to India’s rescue and gave his team early breakthroughs as he often has since his debut. The young India pacer left Sri Lanka reeling on 31 for four.
Facing the stiff target, SL needed to take on the Indian bowlers from the word go. Although Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene scored 13 off Umesh Yadav in the second over, Kumar dealt a double-blow in his next. Sri Lanka lost Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara off consecutive balls.
The wiry pacer was edged to Raina at second slip by the opener, while Sangakkara was adjudged lbw for a duck.
Jayawardene was the young pacer’s next scalp; he hit Kumar to Murali Vijay at thirdman and departed for 11. And in the bowler’s next over, Lahiru Thirimanne hit him to cover and departed without contributing to the run-chase.
With his team facing an uphill task, the SL skipper joined Dinesh Chandimal in the middle. But 25 runs later, he was caught by Karthik off Ravindra Jadeja. In the left-arm spinner’s next over, he drew Chandimal out of his crease and had the batsman stumped. This tilted the match firmly in India’s favour. And with pressure mounting on SL, Ravichandran Ashwin disrupted Mendis’ woodwork to put India in the driver’s seat. Herath then holed Ishant Sharma out to Murali Vijay. Ishant also claimed Dilhara Lokuhettige a while later. And then, Umesh Yadav returned to wrap up the Sri Lankan innings for 96 with the wicket of Malinga.
Brief scores: India 119/3 in 29 overs (R Sharma 48*, V Kohli 31; R Herath 2/32) beat Sri Lanka 96 all-out in 24.4 overs (D Chandimal 26; B Kumar 4/8, I Sharma 2/17, R Jadeja 2/17) by 81 runs under D/L method
Man of the Match: Bhuvneshwar Kumar for his match-winning bowling performance