India march into Champions Trophy final
India handed Sri Lanka a beating by 8 wickets in their 2013 ICC Champions Trophy semifinal fixture at Cardiff on Thursday, advancing to face England in the final at Edgbaston, Birmingham on Sunday.
After winning an important toss, India’s pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/18), Ishant Sharma (3/33) and Umesh Yadav (0/30) backed their captain’s decision to bowl first, reducing Sri Lanka to 41/3 in the 18th over. The islanders were effectively 41/4 as Tillakaratne Dilshan had to retire hurt earlier.
Angelo Mathews (51) built the bulk of SL’s innings in partnerships with Mahela Jayawardene (38) and Jeevan Mendis (25) but the Indian spinners R Ashwin (3/48) and Ravindra Jadeja (1/33) managed to keep the total down to 181/8.
India’s pacers dominated the batsmen in the overtly seam friendly conditions early on, even MS Dhoni bowled four overs and almost had Jayawardene LBW with his second ball. A limping Dilshan returned to bat late in SL’s innings, remaining not out on 18.
India finished the chase with utter calm and authority. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan laid the base with 77 for the first wicket in 17 overs before a rush of blood to the head saw Sharma charge at Mathews and be bowled for 33. Delhi boys Dhawan and Virat Kohli carried on from there, with neither even feeling pressure from the main threat Sri Lanka had to offer – Lasith Malinga (0/54). Dhawan got a fifty to add to his tally of two hundreds and a 48 in the tournament before Kumar Sangakkara brilliantly stumped him on 68.
Kohli, who had made a hundred against the same opponents in a warm up match earlier brought up his first fifty of the tournament, seeing India over the line just the 36th over. He made 58* (64b 4x4 1x6) as India posted 182/2 to keep their unbeaten run in the tournament alive and set up an encounter against hosts England in the final at Edgbaston on Sunday.