Dubai : Rohit Sharma’s excellent knock went in vain as Sri Lanka produced a clinical performance to beat India by six wickets and top the Super Four table in the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, here on Tuesday.
After beating Afghanistan, this was the second win for Sri Lanka in the Super Four stage and they are all but through to the Asia Cup final. On the other hand, it was the second consecutive loss for India and they are on the brink of elimination.
India will be officially out of the tournament if Pakistan beat Afghanistan on Wednesday.An attacking knock by captain Rohit Sharma (72 off 41) lifted India to a challenging 173-8 in 20 overs. After Rohit, Suryakumar Yadav (34 off 29) was the second top-scorer for India, who would have wanted more contributions from their lower-order batters.
For Sri Lanka, Dilshan Madushanka (3/24), Chamika Karunaratne (2/27) and Dasun Shanaka (2/26) were the main wicket takers.Chasing a challenging total, Kusal Mendis (57 off 37) and Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37) gave Sri Lanka a flying start.
It was smart batting from both Nissanka and Mendis. They played cautiously in the first two overs when both Bhuvneshwar and Arshdeep found some swing. Thereafter they played freely and took Sri Lanka to 57-0 in the first six overs.
Even after the powerplay, they continued the good work, stitching a 97-run opening stand before Nissanka got out to leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in 11.1 overs with a reverse sweep. The out-of-form Asalanka then top-edged a slog sweep and suddenly India found themselves still in the game.
Ashwin then took out the in-form Gunathilaka caught at long-off. Chahal then trapped Mendis plumb in front of the stumps with his slider as India were slowly creeping into this game. However, Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25 not out off 17) hit a six each off Chahal and Ashwin to bring Sri Lanka back in striking range.
With three overs to go, Rohit had a call to make with one over each of Hardik, Arshdeep and Bhuvneshwar left. He gave the 18th to Hardik, who gave 12 runs off the over. With Sri Lanka needing 21 off 12, they had an advantage and Bhuvneshwar was once again entrusted to bowl the 19th over for India but he couldn’t nail his wide yorkers and the 14-run over left Arshdeep to defend seven.
The young left-arm seamer did well to take the game to the penultimate ball, unfurling a slew of yorkers but Dasun Shanaka (33 not out off 18) and Rajapaksa held their nerves and led Sri Lanka to win in 19.5 overs.
For India, Yuzvendra Chahal took three wickets for 34 runs while Ravichandran Ashwin got one.Earlier, put into bat first, India were off to a bad start, losing the wickets of K.L Rahul (6) and Virat Kohli (0) inside the first three overs.
Maheesh Theekshana first trapped Rahul on a swinging delivery and then pacer Dilshan Madushanka got rid of Kohli for a four-ball duck, putting India in trouble at 13-2 after 2.4 overs.Despite losing the wickets, skipper Rohit Sharma stayed true to the batting doctrine that he and the management have imposed on the team and decided to counter-attack.
The opener smashed Asita Fernando for 14 runs, taking India to 44/2 after 6 overs.Even after the powerplay, the Indian skipper continued leading the way with his aggressive style. On the other hand, Suryakumar Yadav was still not able to get going but India were going strong with 79/2 after 10 overs.
Premier Sri Lankan spinner Hasaranga wasn’t too effective and Rohit took him to the cleaners, hitting him for two sixes and a four, for an 18-run over. It was Chamika Karunaratne, who eventually gave Sri Lanka the much-needed breakthrough by removing Rohit for 72 on a short ball.
The score was 110/3 after 12.2 overs when Rohit was dismissed and India were looking set for a strong finish but didn’t arrive with wickets going down in a heap. After Suryakumar got out while playing an instinctive ramp shot, the onus was on Hardik Pandya (17) and Rishabh Pant (17) to finish well for India but they got out at crucial junctures.
Deepak Hooda (3) also couldn’t do much despite getting a lifeline. Eventually, it was Ravichandran Ashwin (15 off 7) who hit a six in the last over to take India to 173 for 8 in 20 overs.
Brief Scores: India 173 for 8 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 72, Suryakumar Yadav 34; Dilshan Madushanka 3/24, Dasun Shanaka 2/26) lost to Sri Lanka 174-4 in 19.5 Overs (Kusal Mendis 57, Pathum Nissanka 52; Yuzvendra Chahal 3/34) by 6 wickets