London, June 9: Sri Lanka registered a comprehensive win against defending champions India on Thursday in the eighth match of ICC Champions Trophy at Kennington, Oval. However, India’s seven-match unbeaten streak in the ICC Champions Trophy came to an unexpected end following a seven-wicket loss to Sri Lanka.
After Shikhar Dhawan’s 125 off 128 balls, Rohit Sharma’s 78 and MS Dhoni’s 63 from 52 balls had propelled India to a commanding 321/8, not many expected Sri Lanka to overhaul India’s total. However, the young Lankan batsmen in the line-up gave a good account of themselves and secured a crucial win to remain alive in the competition.
India started well with Bhuvneshwar Kumar getting rid of Nirshoan Dickwella in the fifth over of the innings, but it was the second wicket stand between Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis that laid the foundation for the win. The two blocked all attempts from Indian bowlers to take a wicket and stitched together a match-winning 159-run partnership in 139 balls. They frustrated the Indian attack and captain Virat Kohli himself rolled his arm over and even-handed Kedar Jadhav three overs in search of a wicket.
It was only in the 28th over that the stand was ultimately broken courtesy a run-out. It was Umesh Yadav’s accurate throw from the deep and MS Dhoni’s trademark quick glovework that found Gunathilaka (76) short of his crease. Incidentally, Mendis too was run-out and this time it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who collected the ball off his bowling and threw it back at the stumps.
Though both the set batsmen were back, the lack of reverse swing meant the Indian bowlers found it difficult to cut through the Lankan batting order. No. 4 Kusal Perera made a vital 47 and provided fine company to Angelo Mathews, who anchored the chase with an unbeaten 52. Asela Gunaratne replaced Mendis after the latter retired hurt, but the attacking batsman hit 34 off only 21 balls to ensure Lanka won the match with eight balls to spare.
Earlier, the Indian openers again tormented the opposition with a solid stand. After posting 136 for the first wicket stand against Pakistan, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar added 138 this time, their third straight century stands in ODIs. Rohit started off with a four off the first ball of the match bowled by Lasith Malinga and Dhawan hit some delightful boundaries on the off. The Powerplay overs fetched 48 runs as the two were cautious early on.
Rohit got to his half-century with a six in 59 balls and Shikhar reached the mark in 69 deliveries with the help of six boundaries.
India lost their first wicket when Rohit was caught at the boundary, trying to pull a Malinga delivery for the second time in the over. On the previous ball, Rohit had dispatched Malinga for a six. In the next over, Virat was caught behind as Nuwan Pradeep picked up his first wicket.
Two quick wickets did not jolt India as Shikhar switched gears and dealt in boundaries to put the pressure back on the opposition. Yuvraj Singh, who picked up the Man of the Match award in the previous game, was dismissed for seven as India were 179/3, but with MS Dhoni up next, panic did not creep in.
It was in the 40th over that Shikhar brought up his 10th ODI hundred with the help of a boundary. With his third century in just seven Champions Trophy innings, Shikhar joined Chris Gayle, Herschelle Gibbs and Sourav Ganguly for most centuries in ICC CT.
Dhoni hit seven fours and two sixes and Kedar Jadhav smashed 25 from 13 balls as India collected 103 runs in the last 10 overs. A win would’ve sealed India’s semifinal berth, but Virat Kohli’s men will now face a virtual quarterfinal against South Africa on Sunday. The team that suffers a loss in the game on June 11 will fly back.
Brief scores: India 321/5 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 125, Rohit Sharma 78, MS Dhoni 63, Lasith Malinga 2/70) lost to Sri Lanka 322/3 in 48.4 overs (Kusal Mendis 89, Danushka Gunathilaka 76, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/54) by 7 wickets