India, who have played musical chairs with its playing XI, find themselves hoping for a miracle to make the final having lost both their Super 4 matches. Fearless, carefree and aggression—everything Team India aspired to achieve in the tournament—were Sri Lanka’s virtues on the night. 10 months on from the debacle of T20 World Cup here in UAE, India still find themselves vulnerable in crunch games.
As It Happened
Openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis set the tone for the chase, hammering 97 for the first wicket in 11.1 overs. Both of them faced 37 balls each and scored 52 and 57 respectively. Yuzvendra Chahal and R Ashwin (who came in for Ravi Bishnoi) drew India back into the contest 3/34 and 1/32 in the middle overs. But captain Dasun Shanaka (33* off 18) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25* off 17) put on an unbeaten partnership of 64 in 34 balls to expose the lackluster death bowling of India who were crippled by lack of bowling options.
Sri Lanka seal a tense win to top Super Four table in #AsiaCup2022 🔥#INDvSL | 📝 Scorecard: https://t.co/914FlwDKK0 https://t.co/t3lhQ5PE9k
— ICC (@ICC) 1662486598000
Sri Lanka came with a plan to use the short boundary to their advantage. They succeeded by restricting the Indian batting to 173/8 as most of the Indian batters were holed out to the bigger side of the field. And when Lankan batters came out to bat, every big hit was targeted towards the shorter boundary. The Indian bowlers, who looked like bowling without considering the shorter boundary, were left stunned.
WHAT. A. WIN! 👊👊Sri Lanka clinch a thriller against India. Win by 6 wickets 👏It’s a hat-trick of wins for Sri L… https://t.co/aGOh4EzuRX
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) 1662486476000
For the first time since he assumed regular Team India captaincy, Rohit the belligerent T20 came out of the shadow of Rohit the captain. It’s all been about rebuilding a team, setting a brand of cricket and preparing for the T20 World Cup in October. On Tuesday, Rohit took it upon himself to hold India together with a 41-ball 72. If only he had his batting lineup, filled with IPL superstars, backing him up and providing a strong finish.
Rohit doesn’t usually emote much on the field. But when Virat Kohli was cleaned up for a duck by left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka a few balls after KL Rahul fell for six, he flung his head back and the pressure was evident on his face. At 13/2, the Indian dressing room was bound to be jittery.
In response, Rohit launched a counterattack. He has been most vocal about the ultra-aggressive, carefree and fearless cricket he wanted his team to play. It was time he showed how it’s done. The moment he skipped down the track to a fast Asitha Fernando ball and pulled him over mid-wicket for a six in the fifth over, you knew he meant business.
The challenges of scoring fluently were apparent seeing the ever-enterprising Suryakumar Yadav struggling to get a move on with 29-ball 34. Rohit was there to play the lead role. Skips down the track to the spinners, little laps past fine-leg and his trademark pull shots were all on show. The run-rate shot past nine-runs per over.
There the ordeal began. Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant showed flashes of their power-hitting prowess but then the Sri Lankan bowlers held their nerve and stuck to their plans. Both fell for identical scores (17 off 13) trying to clear the big boundary.
The match was played on the same surface India and Pakistan played two nights ago. It looked drier and a lot more sluggish. With one side of the boundary being 80 metre-long, the Sri Lankan attack was smart to exploit all of it. Maheesh Theeksana had set the tempo with his immaculate powerplay bowling. Rohit couldn’t have let leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga slide through his overs.
Rohit was motoring along and looked like posting an ominous total till the lack of pace in the pitch finally accounted for him as his upper cut was caught at deep-point off Chamika Karunaratne. Surya’s ramp off Dasun Shanaka also couldn’t clear short third-man.