CT 2017, IND v SL, Match 8, Review: Mendis guides Sri Lanka to historic run chase against India

CT 2017, IND v SL, Match 8, Review: Mendis guides Sri Lanka to historic run chase against India

Sri Lanka beat India by 7 wickets.

Kusal Mendis of Sri Lanka
Kusal Mendis of Sri Lanka.
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

After a thumping win in their previous game against Pakistan, team India aimed the coveted spot in the semi-finals as they took on Sri Lanka. For the islanders, the match was all about staying alive in the competition. They were beaten by the South African side in their first match of the tournament. In the match, when India posted 321 runs on the board, they looked like the firm favorites for the game. But the young Lankan lineup stunned the mighty Indians in the game.

Earlier in the game, it was Sri Lanka who won the toss and opted to bowl first. They had the big boost of the return of their skipper Angelo Mathews. Upul Tharanga had to miss out as he was banned for two games after the slow team over rate in the previous game. Also, Danushka Gunathilaka was brought in for Chamara Kapugedara. Team India stuck with their winning combination in the match.

In walked Indian openers – Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan – to open the innings. They seemed to have started from the same note from where they had ended in the previous game. Both batsmen managed to see the new ball through and then took on the bowlers. With 48 runs on the board in the first 10 overs, they did the hard work of negotiating the moving ball.

Soon , they raced past their second consecutive hundred run partnership in the tournament. In the process, both batsmen got to their individual fifties. The partnership was eventually broken in the 25th over when Lasith Malinga dismissed Rohit Sharma on 78 that came off 79 deliveries with 6 fours and 3 sixes. Skipper Virat Kohli was the new man in and it was an occasion of rare failure for him on the day. Nuwan Pradeep managed to dismiss him for a duck.

Yuvraj Singh could not do much either and scored just 7 before chopping one on his own stumps off the bowling of Asela Gunaratne. MS Dhoni was the man in at number 5 to join Shikhar Dhawan at the crease. Both senior batsmen showed great application as Dhawan continued his good form from one end. Dhawan brought up a magnificent century – his third in the history of the ICC Champions Trophy.

His effort came with a late cut shot off Pradeep in the 40th over of the match. Soon, he tried to up the ante and scored a few big shots. Dhawan perished in the 45th over on 125 that came off 128 balls with 15 fours and a six to his name. He holed out in the deep as he hit straight into the hands of Kusal Mendis.

Hardik Pandya hit a six at his arrival but departed son to become Suranga Lakmal’s first scalp on the day. Meanwhile, MS Dhoni hit a couple of lusty shots and raced to a fifty. His stay of 52 balls yielded 63 runs with 7 fours and a couple of sixes. His effort, combined with the efforts of Kedar Jadhav (25* off 13 balls) helped India finish with 321/6 in their 50 overs.

And the run chase

In the runchsse, Sri Lanka had a stuttering start with Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissing Niroshan Dickwella on 7 in the 5th over of the match. Danushka Gunathilaka, the other opener, was joined by Kusal Mendis in the chase. Both young men showed immense composure to frustrate the heavyweight Indian bowling attack. Soon, they found themselves dictating terms in the run chase as runs came easily.

Fifties for both players beckoned next and India were almost out of the competition. The Indian skipper was found wanting for bowling options and ended up bowling with Kedar Jadhav. It was a suicidal double run attempt in the 28th over that saw Umesh Yadav and MS Dhoni combining to run out Gunathilaka on 76. His knock came off 72 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes. A few overs later, another suicidal attempt saw Bhuvneshwar Kumar running out Mendis on 89 off his own bowling. Mendis’ knock came in 93 balls with 11 fours and a six.

Two new batsmen were at the crease – Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews – in the 33rd over with the scorecard reading 196/3. Perera and Mathews took a few deliveries to settle in and then marched ahead in the run chase. They were in firm command of the proceedings and put on a fifty run stand. Perera was retired out with a torn hamstring after scoring 47 off 44 balls.

Asela Gunaratne came in to join Mathews. A few innovative shots set things up for him. It was only a matter of time that they eased past the massive total. Mathews remained unbeaten on 52 off 45 balls with 6 fours and Gunaratne scored an unbeaten 34 off 21 balls to see Sri Lanka script a historic win over India. With the win, the next two fixtures of this group will be virtual quarterfinals.

Brief Scores

India 321/6 in 50 overs (Dhawan 125, Rohit 78, Malinga 2/70, Gunaratne 1/7)

Sri Lanka 322/3 in 48.4 overs (Mendis 89, Gunathilaka 76, Bhuvneshwar 1/54)

Check full scorecard here.