Sri Lanka beat India by six wickets in yesterday’s (September 6) Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 match in Dubai. This was Lanka’s second win in as many matches in the Super 4 round. In yet another game that went down to the last over, Sri Lanka held their nerve to chase down 174 with one ball in hand. The defeat means India are all but knocked out of the Asia Cup.
The Lankans got off to a brilliant start in the chase as their openers Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37) and Kusal Mendis (57 off 37) added 97 in 11 overs. However, Yuzvendra Chahal (3/34) claimed three quick wickets as Sri Lanka faltered to 110 for four.
Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka (33* off 18) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25* off 17) then added an unbroken 64 for the fifth wicket to ensure victory for their team. The duo’s clean-hitting came to the fore as they transferred the pressure back on India. Rajapaksa slammed a six each off Chahal and Ashwin to lift the Lankans.
With 33 needed off 18, Shanaka hit Hardik Pandya for a four and a six. Like in the match against Pakistan, the equation came down to seven off the last over. And just like in the previous game, Arshdeep Singh was given the responsibility of bowling the last over. Unfortunately for India, they again ended up on the losing side.
Arshdeep did commendably well to bring the equation down to two off two balls. However, the match ended in bizarre fashion. Shanaka missed a cut and the ball went to the keeper. However, Rishabh Pant could not affect a run out despite having three stumps to aim at. The ball rolled towards Arshdeep, who took aim at the non-striker's end. He also missed and the Lankan batters completed the second run to claim a memorable victory.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s openers got off to a rapid start, reaching 57 for no loss at the end of the powerplay. After easing their way to 27 in the first four overs, Nissanka and Mendis took on Arshdeep. Mendis struck a four over cover and a six over deep midwicket, while Nissanka smashed a boundary over mid-off as 18 came off the fifth over.
Rohit Sharma introduced spin in the form of Chahal in the next over. However, the Lankan openers clubbed a four and a six as their team raced past 50. When Ravichandran Ashwin came in, Mendis charged down and lofted the spinner inside out over cover for a six. The Lankans controlled the chase perfectly, reaching 89 for no loss at the halfway stage.
The excellent stand ended when Nissanka reverse-swept Chahal to backward point. The Indian leg-spinner had a second in the over when Charith Asalanka (0) top-edged a sweep to deep backward square. Ashwin kept India’s hopes alive, having Danushka Gunathilaka (one) caught at long off with a flighted delivery.
India’s magnificent fightback continued as Chahal trapped Mendis right in front of the stumps with a slider. At 110 for four, India were very much in the contest. However, the Men in Blue had no answer to Rajapaksa and Shanaka’s belligerence.
Sri Lanka restrict India to 173 for 8 despite Rohit Sharma’s rapid 72
Indian captain Rohit hit a stroke-filled 72 off 41 balls after the Men in Blue were sent into bat by Sri Lanka. However, Dilshan Madushanka (3/24), Chamika Karunaratne (2/27) and Shanaka (2/26) came up with impressive bowling performances to restrict the Men in Blue to 173 for eight.
Unlike the last game, India got off to a poor start as KL Rahul (six) was trapped lbw by Maheesh Theekshana in the second over. The out-of-form batter went down the track to the spinner and tried to flick him. However, he was hit on the boot and even a review could not save him. Worse was to follow for India though. Virat Kohli (0) was clean bowled by Madushanka as he attempted a wild slog and completely missed the ball.
Thankfully for India, Rohit was in supreme touch. He launched Asitha Fernando for a six over deep square leg in the fifth over and followed it up with a four punched between point and cover-point. The Indian captain could have been dismissed on 40, but Sri Lankan captain Shanaka put down a tough chance at extra cover off Wanindu Hasaranga’s bowling.
The big hits kept flowing for Rohit even as Suryakumar Yadav was somewhat circumspect at the other end, mindful of India’s batting collapse against Pakistan in the previous game. After crossing his fifty, Rohit took on Hasaranga and clubbed him for two sixes and a four.
The Indian skipper’s excellent knock ended when he miscued a slower ball from Karunaratne to deep point. Suryakumar (34 off 29) also fell soon after, guiding a slower bouncer from Shanaka into the hands of the short third man fielder. Pant and Pandya played some impressive strokes, but could not make substantial contributions.
Pandya (17) miscued a big hit off Shanaka to deep midwicket, while Pant (17) pulled a slower short ball from Madushanka straight to the fielder. Earlier, in the over, the young pacer had cleaned up Deepak Hooda (three) as he shuffled across too early and exposed his stumps. Hooda could not make use of a reprieve when he was caught at short third man off Shanaka, but survived as the third umpire declared the delivery no ball on height.
A six from Ashwin (15*) in the last over bowled by Karunaratne ensured the Men in Blue at least crossed the 170-run mark. It wasn't going to be enough though as Sri Lanka sneaked home in the end.
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Rohit led from the front for India with a blazing 72. With the ball, Chahal gave the team hope, claiming three quick wickets.
For Sri Lanka, Madushanka impressed with three scalps, while Karunaratne also picked up two. In the chase, Nissanka and Mendis struck superb fifties. Shanaka had a memorable all-round game. He claimed two wickets and played a game-defining knock under pressure.
Sri Lankan captain Shanaka was named Player of the Match for his wonderful all-round effort.