Srilanka saunter past India’s 321, to keep semi-final hopes alive

The Champions Trophy 2017 has well and truly come alive, after a week of failing to live up to the hype, thanks to two remarkable performances from two underdogs, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Srilanka’s performance against India on June 8 has been the best by a team in this edition of the tournament so far. Angelo Mathews said in the post match interview, that the underdog status was a blessing in disguise for his team, who went on to beat an overwhelming favourite, India, by 7 wickets.

Having been set a challenging target of 322 by India, who were asked to bat first by Mathews after he had won the toss, the Islanders took everyone by surprise with the maturity and composure they exuded to eventually chase the target down with eight balls to spare. Other than Niroshan Dickwella, who fell cheaply for 7, every Lankan Lion made a telling contribution with the bat and because every batsman weighed in with a significant contribution—Danushka Gunathilaka with 76, Kusal Mendis with 93, Kusal Perera with 47, Mathews with 52*, and Gunaratne with 34*—321 was made to look more like a 270-280 total.

Gunathilaka and Mendis played the most crucial knocks in this stiff chase and were involved in the most important partnership as well, of 159 runs off 139 balls, for the second wicket. Their individual and collective batting efforts were the cornerstones of a famous and record-breaking Sri Lankan win. 322 is now the highest-ever target achieved in the history of Champions Trophy, with the Lankan Lions eclipsing England’s successful chase of 306 in the inaugural match of the 2017 edition. This has also now become the highest target chased in ODIs at the Brit Oval.

India were in control of this match for the first 60 overs, having batted well for the second consecutive match and then began well with the ball too. But Gunathilaka and Mendis, after a few sighters early on, played some exquisite strokes, timed the ball well and timed hitting the boundaries to perfection. With the required run rate hovering around the 7 runs per over mark during the course of their partnership, these two ensured that a boundary was scored off every over or, at least, off every alternative over.

A few overs, particularly those bowled by Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya, who had poor outings with the ball along with Umesh Yadav, cost India 10, 11, 12, and sometimes even 15+ runs. The Indian bowling attack was unable to stop this haemorrhaging of runs and this inability of theirs allowed Sri Lanka to run away with the match.

The Indian bowlers were unable to take wickets on an Oval pitch that was a batsman’s friend. But thanks to some good fielding, either of their own bowling or on the outfield, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar brought India back into the match by running out Gunathilaka and Mendis in the 28th and the 33rd overs. Only for a short while afterward, though, did India manage to bowl a few cheap overs and apply a little bit of pressure on Kusal Perera. They didn’t strike at all thereafter, with Sri Lanka scoring the final 126 runs of their target without losing a wicket.

Perera, in the company of his captain and comeback man Mathews, started to find the boundary and resume Srilanka’s march towards India’s 321/6, after a shaky start to his innings. The left-hander suffered a right hamstring injury after he crossed 40 and retired hurt for 47 off 44 balls, but not before he had consolidated the strong position Gunathilaka and Mendis had put Sri Lanka in. Perera leaving the field served his team well actually.

Because in came Asela Gunaratne and with his ability to hit the ball cleanly, got the match done and dusted with an unbeaten 21-ball 34. His first three deliveries were dots but he got himself going with a six on the fourth delivery he faced, off Umesh over fine leg. Mathews batted cleverly and according to the demands of the match situation, and he too took us by surprise with his fluent strokeplay despite playing his first match in over eight months (Mathews’s last ODI came on August 31, 2016). He remained unbeaten on 52. The Srilankan skipper fittingly hit the winning run and led his team to a virtual quarter-final on Monday against Pakistan at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

While the bowling attack had a disappointing day at the office, the Indian batting unit continued from where they left off against Pakistan last Sunday. Shikhar Dhawan struck an impressive ton (a 128-ball 125 which included 15 fours and one six) and was involved in another 100-run stand for the first wicket with Rohit Sharma, who himself made another half-century (a 79-ball 78). This was the third consecutive ODI that Rohit and Dhawan had put together a 100+ partnership in for India.

Though Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Pandya, the three crucial contributors with the bat on Sunday, failed against Srilanka, MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav stepped into their shoes and provided the final flourish. Dhoni made a crucial 63 off 52 balls and Jadhav showed that he is well capable of playing the aggressor’s role at the end of the innings, with a 13-ball 25. Given how India bowled and the efficiency shown by the Srilankan batsmen, 321 was only a par score.

Kusal Mendis was awarded the man-of-the-match for his 93-ball 89 (11×4 and 1×6), which laid a strong foundation for Sri Lanka to go on and clinch an indispensable victory.

India vs Srilanka, CT 2017 8th match scorecard

Playing XIs

India: 1. Virat Kohli (C), 2. Rohit Sharma, 3. Shikhar Dhawan, 4. Yuvraj Singh, 5. MS Dhoni (WK), 6. Kedar Jadhav, 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. Hardik Pandya, 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10. Umesh Yadav, and 11. Jasprit Bumrah

Srilanka: 1. Angelo Mathews (c), 2. Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 3. Danushka Gunathilaka, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Kusal Perera, 6. Asela Gunaratne, 7. Dinesh Chandimal, 8. Thisara Perera, 9. Lasith Malinga, 10. Suranga Lakmal, 11. Nuwan Pradeep


India: 321/6 (Dhawan 125 and Rohit 78; Malinga 2/70 and Gunaratne 1/7)
Srilanka: 322/3 (Mendis 89, Gunathilaka 76 and Mathews 52*; Bhuvneshwar 1/54)

India innings (toss: Srilanka, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Rohit Sharma caught T Perera, bowled Malinga 78 (79) 6 3 98.73
Shikhar Dhawan caught Mendis, bowled Malinga 125 (128) 15 1 97.65
Virat Kohli caught Dickwella, bowled Pradeep 0 (5) 0 0 0.00
Yuvraj Singh bowled Gunaratne 7 (18) 0 0 38.88
MS Dhoni caught Chandimal, bowled T Perera 63 (52) 7 2 121.15
Hardik Pandya caught K Perera, bowled Lakmal 9 (5) 0 1 180.00
Kedar Jadhav not out 25 (13) 3 1 192.30
Ravindra Jadeja not out 0 (0) 0 0 0.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah
Extras: 14 (10 wides and 4 leg byes)
India’s total: 321/6 in 50 overs, at 6.42 runs per over
India’s fall of wickets: 138/1 (Rohit, 24.5), 139/2 (Kohli, 25.5), 179/3 (Yuvraj, 33.3), 261/4 (Dhawan, 44.1), 278/5 (Pandya, 45.4), and 307/6 (Dhoni, 49.2)
Srilanka bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken  Economy rate
Lasith Malinga 10 0 70 2 7.00
Suranga Lakmal 10 1 72 1 7.20
Nuwan Pradeep 10 0 73 1 7.30
Thisara Perera 9 0 54 1 6.00
Danushka Gunathilaka 8 0 41 0 5.12
Asela Gunaratne 3 0 7 1 2.33
Srilanka innings (target: 322 in 50 overs, at 6.44 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Niroshan Dickwella caught Jadeja, bowled Bhuvneshwar 7 (18) 0 0 38.88
Danushka Gunathilaka run out by Umesh/Dhoni 76 (72) 7 2 105.55
Kusal Mendis run out by Bhuvneshwar 89 (93) 11 1 95.69
Kusal Perera retired hurt 47 (44) 5 0 106.81
Angelo Mathews not out 52 (45) 6 0 115.55
Asela Gunaratne not out 34 (21) 2 2 161.90
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, and Nuwan Pradeep
Extras: 17 (1 no-ball, 5 wides and 11 leg byes)
Srilanka’s total: 322/3 in 48.4 overs, at 6.61 runs per over
Srilanka’s fall of wickets: 11/1 (Dickwella, 4.4), 170/2 (Gunathilaka, 27.5) and 196/3 (Mendis, 32.4)
India bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken  Economy rate
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10 0 54 1 5.40
Umesh Yadav 9.4 0 67 0 6.93
Jasprit Bumrah 10 0 52 0 5.20
Hardik Pandya 7 1 51 0 7.28
Ravindra Jadeja 6 0 52 0 8.66
Kedar Jadhav 3 0 18 0 6.00
Virat Kohli 3 0 17 0 5.67

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