Champions Trophy 8th Match: Sri Lanka stun India to avoid elimination

Mendis struck his 10th ODI fifty

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Kusal Mendis led the way with a fantastic 89 as Sri Lanka crushed India by seven wickets to keep their hopes of progressing to the Champions Trophy semi-finals alive.

Sri Lanka’s victory, which marked their joint-highest successful run chase in ODI history, blows Group B wide open as India’s clash with South Africa on Sunday will see the winner advance to the last four. The same will apply for Sri Lanka and Pakistan when they meet on Monday.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, who was playing in his first ODI since August last year, would have been mulling over his decision to bowl first after India opener Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan amassed a 138-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries.

With India in full control, Lasith Malinga came to the rescue for Sri Lanka in the 25th over as he dismissed Rohit for 78, which came off 79 balls and included six boundaries and three sixes.

Rohit scored his 31st half-century in ODI cricket

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Sri Lanka struck again the very next over as Nuwan Pradeep had India captain Virat Kohli caught behind for a duck.

Sri Lanka’s fightback continued when Yuvraj Singh was clean bowled by Asela Gunaratne for seven runs.

Dhawan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni stabilised the innings with an 82-run stand, during which Dhawan surpassed his hundred, before he was removed by Lasith Malinga for 125 off 128 balls, which included 15 boundaries and a six.

Dhawan celebrates after scoring his 10th ODI hundred

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Hardik Pandya only mustered nine runs, while Dhoni went on to make 63 off 52 deliveries, which included seven boundaries and two sixes.

Dhoni’s 62nd ODI fifty went in vain

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Thanks to Kedar Jadhav’s quickfire 25, India finished on 321/6 off their 50 overs.

Malinga was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Pradeep, Gunaratne, Thisara Perera and Suranga Lakmal chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 322 to win, Sri Lanka lost opener Niroshan Dickwella for seven, but Danushka Gunathilaka and Mendis made up for it with a 158-run partnership, during which both players registered their fifties.

With Sri Lanka cruising, India were in dire need of a wicket, and it came in the 28th over when Gunathilaka was run out for 76 off 72 balls, which included seven boundaries and two sixes.

Gunathilaka made his highest ODI score

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Mendis went on to make 89 off 93 deliveries, which included 11 boundaries and a six, before he was run out by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Kusal Perera and Mathews steadied the ship as they put together a 75-run partnership before Kusal had to retire hurt on 47 with a hamstring injury.

Mathews and Gunaratne completed the highest successful run chase in Champions Trophy history with an unbeaten 51-run partnership, during which Mathews recorded his fifty.

Mathews ended up making 52 off 45 balls, which included six boundaries, while Gunaratne remained undefeated on 34 off 21 deliveries, which included two boundaries and two sixes.

Mathews made his 33rd half-century in ODI cricket

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Kumar was the only bowler to take a wicket.

Kohli was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “We felt we had enough on the board, we trusted out bowlers, but Sri Lanka were pretty good. They kept the momentum through the innings, they picked their areas to hit and executed really well.

“There’s always hindsight. I thought we bowled decently. But when you don’t execute properly, there is always food for thought. Here you have to give credit to the other team. In a tournament like this especially.”

Mathews was delighted to have won, and said: “It’s one of the top wins, to beat India. It was a fantastic wicket. The bowlers did brilliantly to restrict India to 321. it’s a very chaseable target. I tried to hit as many balls in the nets as possible, it makes you feel good and that helped me come back from injury.

“[It] Wasn’t easy for Gunathilaka to walk into the side and bat like how he did. Kusal [Mendis] is a great player, and Kusal Perera also batted really well. Those partnerships were crucial. It’s a must-win game for all of us in the group. Not many people expected us to win and that took a lot of pressure off us. [Turning point?] I thought the second-wicket partnership. They set us the platform.”

Mendis was named Man of the Match, and said: “Very good wicket. India had a good start, with Dhawan making a hundred. But for us, Danushka supported me very well. It was my first game against India and I’m happy to have contributed. Very bad [about causing Danushka’s run out] but after Angelo and Kusal batted, I was very happy.”

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