India beat SL in a thriller to lift Celkon Mobile Cup
In a nerve wracking game, India beat Sri Lanka by 1 wicket at the Queen's Park Oval on Thursday to lift the Celkon Mobile Cup 2013.
India won a crucial toss and chose to field. MS Dhoni returned to the side replacing Murali Vijay while Vinay Kumar came in for Umesh Yadav.
The Indian bowlers responded early on in the Sri Lankan innings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picking up Upul Tharanga (11) and Mahela Jayawardene (22) in his 400th ODI.
Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne, aided by a few dropped catches, put up a partnership of 122 runs and were looking to be worrisome for India. Sri Lanka were 171/2 and took the Batting Powerplay when Thirimanne (46) got out to Ishant Sharma. Sri Lanka then tumbled to 193-7. Sangakkara (76) and Kusal Perera (2) were both picked up by Ashwin, Vinay taking a great catch to get rid of the former. The procession of Sri Lankan batsmen walking in and out continued as Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Chandimal for 5, Ishant Sharma dismissed the dangerous Angelo Mathews for 10. Sri Lanka at 193-7 could manage only 8 more runs as Jadeja came and cleaned up the lower batting order picking up wickets of Herath(5), Malinga (0) and Lakmal (1).
From a dangerous 171/2, SL’s batsmen played horrendous shots to lose 8 wickets for 30 runs and set India a target of just 202.
Vinay started with a maiden over and bowled 6 in all conceding just 15. Though he didn't get any wickets he contributed with two crucial catches, one to dismiss Sangakkara and one of Angelo Mathews.
India lost the two Delhi batsmen Shikhar Dhawan (16) and Virat Kohli (2) early to Shaminda Eranga, stumbling to 27/2. Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik then dug in to carry the chase forward, adding 50 runs before Herath dismissed Dinesh Karthik for 23. Suresh Raina provided impetus on the slow track, playing attacking cricket to take the score to 139 with Sharma.
Rohit’s 58 had been crucial given the nature of the pitch and it took treacherously low bounce from Herath to end his contribution at that. Soon Raina followed having made 32 and what looked like a breezy chase a while ago was now a uphill task.
Captain MS Dhoni played a captain’s innings at this hour of need and put up an unbeaten 46. Wickets fell one after the other with Herath (4/20) claiming Jadeja(5) and Ashwin(0). Bhuvneshwar (0) and Vinay (5) couldn’t contribute much by way of runs but stuck around to help Dhoni as the scoreboard ticked from 152/7 to 182/9.
Mathews brought in for the kill in the 48th over but Dhoni calmly played out overs 47, 48 and 49 for just out 6 runs refusing Ishant Sharma’s suicidal calls for singles. With 15 needed off the last over, Dhoni got stuck into a nervous Suranga Lakmal. He called for a heavier bat but an almighty swing at the first ball missed everything. Still supremely collected, he hit a straight six on the roof of the grandstand off the next ball, slashed a four over point off the third and walloped the fourth over extra cover for another six, finishing the game with 2 balls to spare, his own score reading 45* (52b 5x4 2x6) and earning him the Man of the Match award.
Virat Kohli lifted the Celkon Trophy with Dhoni, having paved the way with two thundering wins in the group stages to take India to the final. His next assignment will see him lead India in 5 ODIs in Zimbabwe, beginning on 24th of July at Harare.