Kolkata: Cricket is really an unpredictable game where any team can beat the other on any given day. The India-Sri Lanka Champions Trophy match proved just that. Coming from absolutely nowhere, Angelo Matthews’s and co stunned the defending champions by seven wickets with eight balls to spare to remain in the hunt for a semifinal berth.
The Indian batting once again did a good job with both the openers- Rohit Sharma ( 78) and Shikhar Dhawan (125) registering a 138-run opening stand. Skipper Virat Kohli then was dismissed for a rare duck by Nuwan Pradeep and Yuvraj Singh (7) too was dismissed cheaply. However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (63) and Kedar Jadhav (25) made sure that India put on a total well above the 300 run mark.
Chasing 322 for victory, wicketkeeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar with only 11 runs on the board but then what followed totally changed the complexion of the match and turned it in Sri Lanka’s favour. Danushka Gunathilaka (76) and Kusal Mendis (89) got together to stitch a 159-run partnership for the second wicket which dampened India’s hopes of a win.
However, with excellent fielding from Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, both these batsmen were run out in a short span of time which had raised the Indians chances of pulling of a miraculous win but Kusal Perera (47), skipper Angelo Matthews (52*) and Asela Gunaratne (34*) ensured that the Lankan lions secure a deserved victory which also keeps alive their chances of progressing to the semis.
The next two games in this group would virtually be knockout matches as the winner of India vs South Africa match and the winner of the Pakistan vs Sri Lanka match would go through to the semi-finals.
India 321/6 (Shikhar Dhawan 125, Rohit Sharma 78; Lasith Malinga 2/70) lost to Sri Lanka 322/3 in 48.4 overs (Kusal Mendis 89, Danushka Gunathilaka 76; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/54) by 7 wickets.