India stroll past Lanka into final
Dhawan, Kohli shine as India win by eight wickets to set up England clash in title round
After restricting Sri Lanka to an inadequate 181/8, India brought up the winning runs – 182/2— with 90 balls to spare here at the Cardiff Wales stadium on a gloomy Thursday. Rohit Sharma (33) would be kicking himself on his back for throwing away his wicket for the second time in a row after getting a good start but by the time the right-hander had paid for his extravagant stroke, he had added 77 runs for the opening wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (68, 92b, 6x4, 1x6) to lay a sound base for the meagre chase.
Another fruitful stand of 65 runs between Dhawan and Virat Kohli (58, 64b, 4x4, 1x6) brought India closer to victory before the latter completed the formalities with a bruising finish.
India had given themselves a bright chance of entering the summit clash with an excellent of show of swing, seam and spin bowling. The forecast for rains came partly true as morning showers delayed the start by 30 minutes but there was no reduction in the number of overs. It remained gloomy throughout the day and it was a no brainer that whoever won was going to elect to bowl first. MS Dhoni did a huge favour to his bowlers by calling it right.
In conditions tailor-made for swing and seam bowling, the Indian pacers held sway over Lankan batsmen who struggled to build any momentum. So impressive were the Indian pacemen that Dhoni exchanged his big gloves and pads for the ball. The Indian skipper sent down four tidy overs and even won a leg-before decision against Mahela Jaywardene only to be overturned after the review of the verdict.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar once again made the ball talk early, eliciting an edge from opener Kusal Perera to Suresh Raina at second slip. If this was not bad enough, Lanka lost one of their more influential batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan after the right-hander hurt his calf while flicking an Umesh Yadav delivery. Dilshan hung around for while but soon hobbled off the field when the pain became unbearable. It proved to be a virtual wicket for India as the opener returned only with two overs left in the Lankan innings.
Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne set about the repair job marked by total circumspection. With the ball doing more than a bit, the two southpaws were unable to force things as Indians bowled 48 dot balls in the first 60 balls of the Lankan innings. Lanka could have done with some aggresssion but credit should be given to the way Indian pace trio – Bhuvneshwar, Yadav and Ishant Sharma – used the conditions.
They worked up good pace, extracted appreciable bounce and darted the ball around as the innings progressed at snail’s pace. Thirimanne, who was struck hard on the side of his knee role, had added 19 runs off 65 balls when Ishant (3/33) put an end to his misery, Raina taking another fine catch at slip.
The paceman then saw the back of Sangakkara in similar fashion, dealing a body blow to Lankan aspirations. Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews (51, 89b, 1x4, 1x6) played one of the more mature innings of his career to provide some stability to the innings. The right-hander forged a 78-run association with Jayawardene (38) for the fifth wicket to keep the Indian seamers at bay.
It wasn’t until the end of the 22nd over that Dhoni introduced the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja who managed to purchase discernible turn in supposedly pace-friendly conditions. Jadeja put an end the longest and most fruitful resistance of the innings by cleaning up Jayawardene. Mathews raised another useful stand with Jeevan Mendis but Lanka’s problem was losing wickets at wrong times, R Ashwin (3/48) coming in to provide regular breaks.
K Perera c Raina b Bhuvneshwar 4
Dilshan (not out) 18
Sangakkara c Raina b Ishant 17
Thirimanne c Raina b Ishant 7
Jayawardene b Jadeja 38
Mathews c B’neshwar b Ashwin 51
(89b, 5x4, 1x6)
J Mendis st Dhoni b Ashwin 25
T Perera c Dhawan b Ishant 0
Kulasekara b Ashwin 1
Malinga (not out) 7
Extras (LB-2, W-11) 13
Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs) 181
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Perera), 2-36 (Thirimanne), 3-41 (Sangakkara), 4-119 (Jayawardene), 5-158 (Mathews), 6-160 (T Perera), 7-164 (Kulasekara), 8-171 (J Mendis).
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar 9-2-18-1, Yadav 8-2-30-0, Ishant 9-1-33-3 (w-2), Jadeja 10-1-33-1, Dhoni 4-0-17-0, Ashwin 10-1-48-3 (w-8).
Runs during Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 26/1; Power Play2: 36-40 overs: 12/1.
Rohit b Mathews 33
Dhawan st Sangakkara b Mendis 68
(92b, 6x4, 1x6)
Kohli (not out) 58
(64b, 4x4, 1x6)
Raina (not out) 7
Extras (B-1, LB-5, W-10) 16
Total (for 2 wkts, 35 overs) 182
Fall of wickets: 1-77 (Rohit), 2-142 (Dhawan).
Bowling: Kulasekara 10-0-45-0 (w-4), Malinga 8-0-54-0 (w-5), T Perera 6-0-25-0, Mathews 4-0-10-1, Herath 4-0-14-1 (w-1), Mendis 3-0-28-1.
Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 40/0.