Dilshan, Virat set up incredible clash at Hobart
Royal Challengers Bangalore allrounder Tillakaratne Dilshan set up an interesting match and Virat Kohli scripted an incredible finish in the India vs Sri Lanka Commonwealth Bank Series encounter at Hobart.
Sri Lanka set India a target of 320/4 helped by 160* from RCB allrounder Tillakaratne Dilshan and 105 from Kumar Sangakkara. India's response consisted of an electric Virat Kohli innings, a superb 133* off just 86 balls which carried them to 321/3 in just 36.4 overs and helped them win the match by 7 wickets.
India needed to win the match with a bonus point to remain in contention for a spot in the CB Series finals. The win now leaves their survival dependant on an Australian win in the hosts’ match against Sri Lanka on Friday at Melbourne.
India won the toss and chose to bowl first in their do-or-die match. Their first success came when Mahela Jayawardene was out with SL’s score on 50 but had to wait overs for their next success as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sangakkara add 200 for the second wicket.
Dilshan did away with the circumspect starts he had been making earlier in the series, reverting to his attacking self. After playing himself in, he feasted on the spinners in the middle overs in the company of Sangakkara, reaching his century in off 132 balls then racing to 160 off 165, scoring 60 off the last 33 balls he faced.
Supported superbly by Kumar Sangakkara who made 105 off 87 balls, Dilshan carried his bat to end on 160* with three sixes and eleven fours off 165 balls, powering Sri Lanka to 321/4 in their 50 overs.
Zaheer Khan’s sole wicket was that of Angelo Mathew towards the end, he finished with unflattering figures of 1/61 from his nine overs.
India had to chase down the total within 40 overs for a bonus point. Sehwag and Tendulkar gave them a good start, racing to 54 in just the 7th over when Sehwag became the first wicket to fall, caught by Tillakaratne Dilshan off Maharoof for 30 off 16. Tendulkar followed in the 10th over, LBW for 39 off 30 trying a cheeky flick off Malinga.
Virat Kohli walked in to partner Gambhir and made a run-a-ball start to his innings, taking singles wherever half opportunities presented themselves, going for boundaries whenever bowlers erred even the slightest.
Kohli accelerated once he was in his 30s, aiming for the shorter boundaries on the onside. The batsmen managed to keep the required run rate consistently between 7 and 8 even after the end of the powerplay, finding the gaps with perfection. They brought up their half centuries within a few deliveries of each other, adding 115 off 109 balls in their partnership for the third wicket.
Gambhir’s dismissal came when they were attempting a tight second run in the 28th over bringing the out of form Suresh Raina to the middle. Gambhir made 63 off 64 balls. The bowling powerplay had just started, the required run rate was brought to below 6 by then and the duo kept it there. Big overs for India came against Kulasekara and Malinga who kept bowling on the leg stump.
58 runs came off the bowling powerplay which ended after the 32nd over and India took the batting powerplay immediately to keep the momentum going.
Kohli jumped from 98 to 122 over the course of one particularly errant Malinga over which went for 2-6-4-4-4-4, the bowler varied his lengths but the line remained the same on leg and Kohli was disdainful in the manner he dispatched the ball past the ropes.
The 100 run partnership came up in just 45 balls with that blitz which cut the equation from 42 required off 36 to 18 required off 30.
Virat Kohli rubbed it in in Malinga’s next over, slamming two consecutive boundaries to bring up the win in just 36.4 overs, ending on 133* with two sixes and a whopping sixteen boundaries. Malinga ended with figures of 1/96 in 7.4 overs, an economy of 12.52 which could have been much worse if he had completed his quota.
Suresh Raina finished on 40* off 24 balls with three fours and a six, his unbeaten 120 run partnership for the fourth wicket with Kohli came in just 56 deliveries, sealing the 7 wicket win for India.
Kohli picked up the Man of the Match award for his heroics.