India through to finals after victory over SL
It was the most anticipated match of the Tri-Series in West Indies as it tied the fates of all the participating teams.
India crashed the West Indies's party, winning by a handsome 81 runs (D/L) against Sri Lanka on Tuesday at Port of Spain. In doing so they topped the points table and ousted hosts West Indies from the Celkon Mobile Cup Tri-series in their own backyard.
India's last encounter with Sri Lanka, in Kingston was not a pleasant one with Sri Lanka scoring a 161 run victory but the men in blue more than made up for that loss with their precision and cohesion at the Queen's Park Oval.
Sri Lanka won the toss and sent India in to bat. Rohit Sharma put up an unbeaten 48 after Shikhar Dhawan's (15) early dismissal. Virat Kohli made 31 when he was caught leg before wicket by Herath. Progress was slow in his 85 ball, 49 run partnership with Sharma as India kept wickets for a healthy equation in case of rains. Soon enough, India were 119/3 after 29 overs when rain interrupted play, a similar situation to the match contested between Sri Lanka and West Indies two days ago. However, play was not shifted to the reserve day and the match after 4 and a half hours of incessant rain.
India's ploy of saving wickets worked, Sri Lanka were set a formidable target of 178 in 26 overs after Duckworth-Lewis calculations. India needed to restrict Sri Lanka to 167 or less to qualify for the final and they did so thanks to young talent Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
178 in 26 already meant an asking rate of 6.8 but even Sri Lanka would not have expected the massive butchery that followed. Bhuvneshwar wrecked the entire Sri Lankan batting top order. The batsmen, Upul Tharanga (6), Mahela Jayawardene(11), Kumar Sangakkara(0) and Lahiru Thirimanne (0) perished in quick succession in Kumar's spell giving him his career best figures of 4-8. Sangakkara was given a poor LBW decision but the rest fell tamely.
Ravindra Jadeja then quelled a counter attack from Angelo Mathews and Ishant Sharma rose to the occasion as well, both taking 2 wickets each to clean up the middle order. Ashwin dismissed Jeevan Mendis and Lasith Malinga was the last to go, falling to Umesh Yadav. The damage had been done once the top order fell and the following batsmen contributed enough to make 96 in 24.4 overs giving India a smooth victory with a bonus point.
After a poor start to the series India finished on top of the points table with 10 points after back to back victories in the last 2 matches.
India play Sri Lanka on 11th July in the Celkon Mobile Cup Final at the same venue.