Arshdeep Singh’s back of a length delivery beat Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka. He and Bhanuka Rajapaksa were already off for a quick run. Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant’s throw missed the stumps. The bowler collected the ball and aimed at the other end. But again missed. The two batters stole a second and jumped in joy. Sri Lanka beat India by six wicket in the Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 tie at the Dubai International Stadium.
Shanaka remained unbeaten at 33 off 18 balls and Rajapaksha at 25 off 17. The two stitched a 64-run stand to take their team home.
The loss against Sri Lanka puts Rohit Sharma and co on the brink of a disappointing Asia Cup exit. Qualifying for the final is now mere mathematical possibility.
Shanaka was named the player of the match. The Sri Lankan skipper, in the post-match ceremony, said, “The environment in the team set the tone. It is what gave us the confidence. The batting unit won it for us. The bowlers bowled well in patches, Dilshan and Theekshana in particular. The Indian batsmen came hard, but we did well to keep them to 173.”
Chasing 172, Sri Lankan openers got off to a blazing start with openers Kusal Mendis (57 off 37 balls) and Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37 balls) putting on 97 runs at a brisk rate.
However, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal had other ideas as he struck twice in the 12th over to put the brakes on Sri Lanka’s march.
Ravichandran Ashwin sent back Danushka Gunathilaka (1) to leave Sri Lanka in a spot of bother at 110 for three in the 14th over. The team was 110/4 at one point. But then Shanaka came to rescue.
“Losses like these will make us understand what works as a team. With the ball, it was a good effort to take it to the last over considering the start they had. The spinners bowled aggressively and got wickets in the middle overs, but Sri Lanka held their nerve,” Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said.