Report: Ind vs SL – Final, Celkon Mobile Cup
Returning to play in the Celkon Mobile Cup 2013 final against Sri Lanka, MS Dhoni led India to the title with a trademark six by attaining the 202-run target. Despite losing partners at regular intervals, the India captain held up one end and struck two sixes and a boundary in the last over to take India to a one-wicket win at the Queen’s Park Oval in a close encounter.
After asking SL to bat first, Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed both openers, but Kumar Sangakkara (71) and Lahiru Thirimanne (46) carefully rebuilt the innings to set SL on course for a competitive total. However, while attempting to accelerate the run-rate, Thirimanne fell to Ishant Sharma. With a foot in the door after Sangakkara’s dismissal, the Indians forced their way to warp up the SL innings for 201. The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja struck at regular intervals, and bagged two and four wickets respectively.
Rohit Sharma then led the chase with a watchful 58. However, his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli got out in quick succession early on. At 27 for two, Dinesh Karthik joined Rohit in the middle and the duo played watchfully to stitch a valuable partnership. Their stand ended for 50 with Karthik offering a catch to Mahela Jayawardene – who was playing his 400th ODI – at first slip off Rangana Herath.
Joining forces with Suresh Raina, Rohit continued to play watchfully and carried the innings forward. But with India 63 short of the target, Herath dislodged the opener’s bails. Six run later, Suranga Lakmal followed up with the wicket of Raina, while Herath trapped Jadeja and Ashwin lbw couple of overs later off consecutive deliveries to leave India on 152 for seven.
With the match precariously poised, Bhuvneshwar Kumar joined Dhoni in the middle. But Malinga ended his 14-ball stay at the crease for naught. With 35 more required in difficult conditions, Vinay Kumar took guard. But after adding five runs in a 15-run partnership, he skied a Mathews delivery that was safely pouched at short thirdman.
With 20 required off 20 balls, Ishant Sharma came to the crease. With singles hard to come by, the required run-rate creeping up and only one wicket in hand, the pressure on the last Indian pair was mounting. Then with 15 runs required from the final over, Dhoni teed off against Eranaga. After missing the first ball, he hit the next one into the stands over the bowler’s head, and followed it up with a boundary. He then took Team India to a famous one-wicket victory with a six over extra cover off the next ball.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 201 all-out in 48.5 overs (K Sangakkara 71, L Thirimanne 46; R Jadeja 4/23, B Kumar 2/24) lost to India 203/9 in 49.4 overs (R Sharma 58, MS Dhoni 45*, R Herath 4/20) by 1 wicket
Man of the Match: MS Dhoni for his match-winning 45 off 52 balls
Man of the Series: Bhuvneshwar Kumar for claiming ten wickets in four matches at an average of 9.70