India confirmed the final spot in the Asia Cup 2016 after they overwhelmed Sri Lanka by five wickets under the lights at Mirpur stadium today.
The 138-run target was never a tall order for India’s batsmen. A responsible knock from Virat Kohli and the late flourish from Yuvraj Singh took India home quite comfortably in the end.
|India v Sri Lanka|
|India: 142/5 (19.2/20 over)|
|Sri Lanka: 138/9 (20/20 over)|
Kohli was unbeaten on 56 from 47. He struck seven fours in his innings. Yuvi chipped in 35. The third and fourth wicket stands for India basically knocked the wind out of Sri Lanka’s sails.
For Sri Lanka Kulasekara took two wickets while Perera, Herath and Shanaka took a wicket each.
India lost their fifth wicket 14 runs away from victory when Rangana Herath got the better off Hardick Pandya. The ball missed the outside edge and pegged back the off stump.
Yuvyaj Singh’s cameo that placed his team on the driver’s seat was stopped at 35 by Perera. The Indian allrounder played 18 balls, smashed three fours and three sixes to his name. He ensured Sri Lanka couldn’t get back into the match.
India lost their key wicket of Raina in the 12th over, and the third wicket partnership was stopped at 54 from 7.5 overs by Sri Lanka’s Shanaka.
Raina looked to step inside the line and hit over mid-off but the ball struck high on the bat and popped to Kulasekara who took a juggling catch.
Raina scored 25 from 26 with two fours.
The third wicket stand between Kohli and Raina removed the early jitters and consolidated the Indian chase with sensible batting.
Both of them were keen to rotate the strike and kept the Sri Lankan fielders honest with their running. The partnership reached 50 runs in 6.3 overs to give India hope of victory.
Kulasekara gave Sri Lanka their second wicket in the fourth over to stall India’s progress. He sent back the dangerous Rohit Sharma for 15 runs.
The Sri Lanka bowler shifted his line slightly wider to entice the drive away from the body. Rohit obliged and got a nick to slip where Kapugedera didn’t make any mistake.
Sri Lanka on a roll…
Sri Lanka took the first Indian wicket in the second over as Kulasekara got the better of Dhawan with an out-swinger.
The ball was slanted across the corridor, Dhawan was late in getting forward, tried to push into the covers but only managed an outside edge to keeper. Dhawan fell for a single.
Earlier, Sri Lanka reached 138 thanks to some late hitting from Perera and Kulasekara in the seventh game of Asia Cup 2016 against India at Mirpur under the lights.
Kapugedara top-scored with 30 while several batters got out in the twenties. For India, it was a disciplined bowling performance. Bumrah, Pandya and Ashwin took two wickets each.
Kulasekara was the last man out for his team when he was runout for 13 off nine balls.
India took the important wicket of Thisara Perera in the 19th over before the Sri Lankan allrounder could do a lot of damage. Perera fell for 17 to a dubious stumping decision as replays showed his bat was in before the bails were dislodged.
Tough luck Sri Lanka.
Bumrah picked his second wicket of the game when he struck in the 18th over. Kapugedera smashed a full ball outside off that carried to Pandya at sweeper cover.
Kapugedera made an useful contribution with the bat. He scored 30 from 32.
Sri Lanka suffered a crucial blow in the 17th over when they lost their fifth wicket when they needed quick runs.
Ashwin got Siriwardana for 22. The Sri Lankan batter faced 17 balls and struck a four and a six in his innings.
India took the fourth Sri Lankan wicket in the 11th over. Pandya got the big wicket of Mathews to stall Sri Lanka before the death overs.
Mathews brought an angled bat down and got a thick inside edge onto the stumps. He scored 18 from 19 balls and left his team in tatters.
Sri Lanka were rocked again in the seventh over, and their batters could not get out of second gear. Pandya celebrated as he struck with his first ball to dismiss Dilshan. Dilshan managed only 18.
India got another breakthrough, their second inside four overs when Sri Lanka batter Jayasuriya poked at a delivery from Bumrah only to manage the thinnest of snicks to the keeper.
Jayasuriya couldn’t score more than three runs. Sri Lanka found runs really hard to come by.
India were calling the shots early…
India’s Ashish Nehra gave his side a great start by removing the in-form Dinesh Chandimal early.
Sri Lanka lost their first wicket in the third after a couple of quiet overs, when Chandimal got a thin inside edge to the keeper. Chandimal looked to go hard and paid the ultimate price.
India captain MS Dhoni called it right during the toss as the coin fell in his favour. He decided to bowl first against Sri Lanka led by Angelo Mathews in the 7th game of Asia Cup 2016.
India, seven wins from their last eight T20s, are fresh from a high-octane triumph against their greatest rivals.
Sri Lanka, having lost six of their last eight T20s, have been comprehensively beaten by a team they used to lord it over.
It seems like a distant memory but Sri Lanka did defeat India in a World T20 final, in the team's last bout at this venue. That will seem more distant still, if Sri Lanka continue to play as they recently have.
India's batting outlasted the sublime Mohammad Amir spell on Saturday, but it was their bowling that set up victory. The same attack has torn through Sri Lanka's brittle batting order in recent weeks.
As for Sri Lanka's woes - where even to begin? Lasith Malinga appears unlikely to play again, the cellotape holding his body together seemingly giving out.
There is still some quality in that bowling attack, with Rangana Herath, Angelo Mathews and Dushmantha Chameera, but maybe their strengths are not being maximised.
The strip awaiting them in Mirpur seems to have a lot of grass on the eve of the match. That should bring to mind the surface in Pune, where Sri Lanka did defeat India. Unless they get their bowling plans in order though, even that match will begin to look like ancient history.
RG Sharma, S Dhawan, V Kohli, SK Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (Captain, Wicketkeeper), HH Pandya, RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, JJ Bumrah and A Nehra
LD Chandimal (Wicketkeeper), TM Dilshan, DSNFG Jayasuriya, AD Mathews (Captain), TAM Siriwardana, MD Shanaka, CK Kapugedera, NLTC Perera, KMDN Kulasekara, HMRKB Herath, PVD Chameera