India need to restrict Sri Lanka to 167 to qualify for final

Sri Lanka need 178 runs to win the sixth tri-series match against India © AFP

By Shrikant Shankar

Port of Spain: Jul 9, 2013

India require to restrict Sri Lanka to a score of 167 runs or less to qualify for the final of the Caribbean tri-series. India were at 119 for three in 29 overs when rain interrupted play. As the delay was significant, India could not resume their innings and a revised target of 178 runs was set for Sri Lanka to win the match in 26 overs at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad.

Before the match began, India were third in the points table with five points, while Sri Lanka sat atop the standings with nine points. They are ahead of West Indies by overall net run rate. Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and sent India into bat. India went unchanged from their win over West Indies in the previous match. Rangana Herath and Dilhara Lokuhettige came in for Sri Lanka in place of the injured Nuwan Kulasekara and Sachithra Senanayake.

Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan began on a cautious note as the pitch did not provide consistent bounce. They worked for their singles before attacking the bowlers. Just when it seemed that a solid platform was being constructed, Sri Lanka struck. Mathews came in at first change and picked up the wicket of Dhawan. The left-hander charged at a short delivery outside off stump and only managed to edge it to first slip.

Mahela Jayawardene took a good low catch. That was also his 200th ODI catch, the first to get there. Dhawan departed for 15 off 16 deliveries scoring two fours.

India captain Virat Kohli, fresh from his century against West Indies on July 5, walked out into the middle. He struck a 49-run partnership with Rohit for the second wicket. The Sri Lankan bowlers were right on top of the Indian batsmen, but the duo fought it out. Rohit got a few blows in the midriff section as the bounce off the wicket was uneven. Kohli also found it difficult to play his usual aggressive shots.

Left-arm spinner Herath then broke Kohli’s (31 off 52 balls) resistance. His quicker delivery skidded off the surface and struck Kohli’s pad right in front of the stumps. Dinesh Karthik then opened his scoring with a grand six over midwicket. He pulled the short ball over the ropes. The partnership seemed to gain momentum, when Herath got his second wicket.

Karthik played off the back foot to a spinning good length delivery but missed. The ball evaded the bat and hit the stumps. India were 111 for three. Suresh Raina then joined Rohit in the middle. Just as the partnership began, the heavens opened up and play was stopped.

No further play was possible for the Indians and Sri Lanka were set a revised target of 178 runs in 26 overs to win the match.

Brief Scores:

India 119 for 3 in 29 overs (Rohit Sharma 48*, Virat Kohli 31; Rangana Herath 2 for 32) vs Sri Lanka.

Full Scorecard

(Shrikant Shankar previously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)