That’s all from me. Cheers! 

The Match Report: Asia Cup 2022, Super 4: Sri Lanka beat India by 6 wickets

After getting bowled out for 105 in the opener, none expected Sri Lanka to script a turnaround of this scale. Three top run-chases later, they sit atop the pile in the Super 4s. With one foot in the final despite the odds, are Shanaka & Co. the modern-day Caged Tigers? Or is it too early to make the comparison? Regardless, the Islanders will bask in the triumph. India’s Asia Cup aspirations  are living on a prayer and their cross-border brothers. 

Sri Lanka wins! 

Nissanka and Mendis set the base. Chahal wrung India back but Shanaka and Rajapaksa dragged them over the line. 

20th over

1st ball: Top-notch yorker. Just the 1. 6 of 5. 

2nd ball: Another yorker. 5 of 4. 

3rd ball: Another yorker but Sri Lanka squeeze two. 3 from 3. 

Rohit Sharma and Arshdeep chit-chat a bit. The captain smiles. 

4th ball: Another yorker, another single. 2 of 2. 

Is a Super Over lurking?

5th ball: Sri Lanka win. Two byes. Oh, dear! Arshdeep beats Shanaka. Rajapaksa and Shanaka scamper for a single. Pant misses the wicket. The ball comes to Arshdeep, who throws wildly. The second comes via overthrows. India loses another last-ball thriller. 

Arshdeep with the final over.

Seven runs needed from the last over! India are on the brink of an exit. 

It’s deja-vu for Bhuvi. After two decent balls to open the over, it goes pear-shaped for the seamer. Second match running, his final over and India’s 19th concede the advantage. 

19th over: 1, 1, wide, wide, 4, 4, 1, 1. 

Bhuvneshwar will take the 19th. He hopes the horrors of Pakistan evade him. 

The over in a nut-shell: 0, 1lb, 4, 0, 6, 1

150 to Sri Lanka! Pandya is bowling some brisk ones. Shanaka uses the pace to flick the ball to the stands in the fine leg region. 

18th over: Hardik Pandya in the house.

Rajapaksa and Shanaka script a mini-revival. But the match has slipped from their grasp. The run-rate has tipped to 11. 33 from 18 now. 

Rajapaksa 19 (10)
Shanaka 11 (8)

Ashwin is tossing it up to leftie Rajapaksa (not of Gota go-back fame). Blessed with enough daring, he launches him for six. He attempts another heave but edges it. It just flies past Kohli’s fingertips. With 16 gone, Sri Lanka is 132/4. Need 42 from 24. 

Also Read: How Yuzvendra Chahal got India back in Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 game vs Sri Lanka

Chahal is sprinkling stardust. Nissanka, Mendis and Asalaka gone in a flash. An easy chase is now dripping with difficulty. What have you done Sri Lanka?!

Anyway, 54 needed off 30. Chahal 3/34 in four. 

Rajapaksa 7 (4)
Shanaka 3 (3)

Mendis LBW Chahal 57 (37)

Wicket? Mendis trapped in front off a Chahal slider. Umpire raises the finger, but the batter reviews. It’s plumb. He trudges off as soon as the replay is beamed.

Silence creeps into the Lankan faction. Coasting at 97/0, they’re 110/3 in 14. Nissanka, Asalanka and Gunathilaka guilty of loose strokes. Mendis remains, but will the rest stay or revolve like a door?   

Wicket! Gunathilaka caught KL Rahul bowled Ashwin 1 (7)
Gunathilaka drably hits a lofted drive over cover and down Rahul’s throat. Classic test match off-spin says Manjrekar. 

Mendis reaches his fifty with a canny dab over short third man

Gunathilaka 1* (4)
Mendis 51* (33) 

100 up for the Islanders! 

Wicket! Asalanka caught Suryakumar Yadav, bowled Chahal 0 (2) Hmm…Is this Sri Lanka or the mighty Spurs? Anyway, Asalanka attempts a sweep, top edges and holes out to Surya. Whisper it, but a choke is suddenly on the anvil. 

Wicket! Nissanka caught Rohit bowled Chahal 52 (37) Oh Pathum! Chahal bowls a dolly outside his leg stump, Nissanka swivels to reverse-sweep but picks out Rohit Sharma. Unnecessary, but just how the Nissan(ka) rolls, I guess.  

Midway into the chase, the Lankans are on song. A whole 10 runs ahead of India at this stage and two wickets less, they are within a whisker of knocking out the BCCI boys. It’s looking all too easy for Nissanka and Mendis. 89/0. 85 more to win!  

The brilliant Nissanka touches 50* off 33 balls.

A lull in the cricket, but Sri Lanka is snuffing out Indian hopes, ball-by-ball, over-by-over. Rolling chants of ‘Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka’ ring through the stands. Even the Lankan openers are a tad bored by proceedings. Seeking adventure, they go on a merry sprint on consecutive balls, just crossing the white line with desperate dives. It’s all part of the plan, folks!  

Am getting a little distracted by Wasim Akram dropping “8 and a 1/2” every odd second. Is this cricket, or is this cinema? If the great Italian director hailed from Ratnapura instead of Rimini, pretty sure we’d know him as Fellinisinghe.  

Mendis and Nissanka are irrepressible against the Indian bowling unit. 57 come in the powerplay as Rohit & Co. look a tad shell-shocked.

Nissanka 33* (21)
Mendis 24* (15)

50 for Sri Lanka in 5.2 overs! 

Mendis joins the party in the 5th over. A hint of dew has made the pitch play better. Arshdeep is taken for 18 runs in his second over. Sri Lanka is well on course. 

Nissanka 23* (17)
Mendis 4* (5)

Sedate start for the Lankans. 17 for no-loss after four. Pathum Nissanka, the aggressor, doing the bulk of the scoring. The slower ball has been used liberally throughout the match. In the third over, the wily Bhuvneshwar forces two miscues with back-to-back slower deliveries. Both fall short of a scampering Yuzi Chahal at Third Man. Nissanka’s straight-six off Hardik Pandya (in the 4th over) is the pick of the shots, so far.

Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka stride out for the chase. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is in deep conversation with captain Rohit Sharma. How goes the chase? Let’s find out. 

Sri Lanka to chase 174. India to defend the same to remain in the Asia Cup!

Aside from Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav’s partnership, India was flat with the bat. 173 is still a decent total, but Sri Lanka bowled superbly at the death. Hasaranga will still be livid at the dropped chance on the final bowl, but it’s finely poised now.  

20th over: 2, 1, W, 1, 6, 2

Wicket! Bhuvneshwar bowled Karunaratne 0 (2). Slower delivery does for Bhuvi. 

With 6 balls to go, India has 161. Hoping to push towards 180. Madhushanka was masterful tonight. 3/24 off his four overs. Take a bow!

Wicket! Pant caught Nissanka bowled Madhushanka 17 (13) The leftie goes for a pull of a slower delivery but finds Nissanka at the square-leg boundary. 

Wicket! Hooda bowled Madhushanka 3 (4) Exposing the stumps. Gets on his knees and gives it a wild swipe. Misses everything and the ball clangs into his stumps.

Amidst all this, India has 150 on board. 157/5. 

Deepak Hooda survives. An unfortunate no-ball spares Hooda his wicket. Should’ve been out, but cruelly denied.  

Wicket! Hardik Pandya caught Nissanka bowled Shanaka 17 (12)! A full-ish ball meets a short-arm jab which is pouched by Nissanka a fair few yards from the fence.  

After 17 overs, India plough to 140/4. The expensive Hasaranga concedes just five runs in his fourth over. 

Pant 13* (7), Pandya 6* (7)

Pant looks in the mood. Within six balls, he has creamed three fours. Two of Shanaka, and one from Theekshana.  

With five overs to go, India is 127/4. The two Ps- Pant and Pandya- are in the middle.

Wicket! Suryakumar Yadav caught Theekshana bowled Shanaka 34 (29) Attempting one of those cheeky caresses off short deliveries, the danger man- albeit subdued tonight- gets cramped by a slower bouncer. Lobs a catch to Theekshana. Sorry, Irfan. 

Irfan Pathan on commentary summons ‘The Real Suryakumar Yadav.” Will he stand up? 

Wicket! Rohit Sharma caught Nissanka bowled Karunaratne 72 (41) Tempted into his trademark square-cut, he finds Nissanka at the fence. 110/3.

Rohit Sharma is in an unsparing mood now. Launches Hasaranga for an 85-metre six. The hitman ticks over to 62 off 38. He did survive a run-out chance. Will it prove costly to the Lankans? I suppose so. 

Anyway, that’s another boundary for Sharma. Gives himself room, and plays an inside-out drive over extra cover four. Followed by a six! That’s 18 off Hasaranga’s third and Sri Lanka’s twelfth. 109/2 now. The partnership is 96 now, of very few balls. Carnage 101!

10 overs in, India 79/2!

Sharma 53* (33)
Yadav 17* (16)

And it’s drinks. 

50 to Rohit Sharma! The opener paddles Asitha Fernando down leg-side for four. He’d begun the over with murderous six! He moves to 51.

50-run partnership! Half-century for the Sharma-Yadav pair. 65/2 in 9 overs. 

Shanaka drops Sharma! Hard, hard chance to be fair. Diving to his left, the ball almost sticks to his outstretched right/left hand (not sure which). If he had cupped it, it would deepen India’s malaise. 

Shanaka drops Sharma! Hard, hard chance to be fair. Diving to his left, the ball almost sticks to his outstretched right/left hand (not sure which). If he had cupped it, it would deepen India’s malaise. 

Fifty for India! 51/2 in 7.1 overs. 
Sharma 35 (24) 
Yadav 7 (8) 

44/2 after 6 overs. The powerplay is done. Rohit Sharma 28* (16), Surya Yadav 6* (7)

Suryakumar Yadav- who has joined the captain on the crease- paddles a single down leg side to bring Sharma on strike. Sharma immediately lofts Theekshana for four, making a mockery of the slow, dry surface. Two singles follow.

Rohit Sharma gives short-shrift to the surface, tonking Asitha Fernando for 6 and 4 before moving to the sedate 2 and 1. He moves into the 20s, dangerous territory for the self-proclaimed Hitman.

The same 22-yard strip which played so true against Pakistan is gripping and holding. Batters are struggling to gauge the pace off the pitch. Naturally, runs aren’t flowing as they were this time Sunday night. Maybe the long haul, anchorman inning is what the conditions are screaming out for. 22/2 after 4 overs. 

Also Read: Watch: Kohli’s stumps dismantled, batter dismissed on duck vs Sri Lanka

Wicket! Virat Kohli bowled Dilshan Madushanka 0 (5) 

Vavavoom! Madushanka makes the ball dart into Kohli, knocking over his stumps, and the in-form batter is out for a duck. Kohli attempted a cross-bat heave, but the dreaded crash of stumps falling all around must singe his ears. 

Wicket! KL Rahul LBW bowled Theekshana 6 (7)

Lankan off-spinner Theekshana gets the ball to drift into Rahul– almost a vicious inswinger. Rahul is beat, and the white orb thuds into his pads. The umpire raises his finger. Rahul reviews on Sharma’s insistence. A long wait later, the decision is confirmed. Trouble in BCCI paradise?

Also Read: Asia Cup 2022: Why Ashwin replaced Bishnoi in India’s 11 vs Sri Lanka

The Preamble

India squares off against Sri Lanka in a must-win Super 4 clash. Losing tonight ensures the Asia Cup slips out of their grasp. Such are the ramifications of such a wildly designed continental showdown. We’re a bit late to the party, but Dasun Shanaka has elected to field first, in keeping with the trend at Dubai’s International Stadium. Ravichandran Ashwin replaces Ravi Bishnoi. A surprising choice after the leggie’s strong showing against Pakistan. Yuzvendra Chahal retains his place in the XI. Sri Lanka goes with the same team that won against Afghanistan. 

The teams: 

India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (C), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal

Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (WK), Charith Asalanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dasun Shanaka (C), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka

The batters are out, let’s get this rolling!