St. Lucia: Indian hopes of sneaking through to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup were shattered after they lost to Sri Lanka by 5 wickets in a Super Eight game played here at the Beausejour Stadium on Tuesday. The Lankans were set a target of 164 by the Indians.
Needing 3 runs to win off the last ball, Chamara Kapugedara (37 runs off 16 balls) smashed the Ashish Nehra delivery out of the park to seal the win. Other top-scorers for Sri Lanka included skipper Kumar Sangakkara (46 off 33), Angelo Matthews (46 off 37) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (33 off 26). For India, Vinay Kumar took two wickets.
Trying to keep Sri Lanka below 143 to give then a chance of making it through to the last four, Nehra took India off to the perfect start as he removed the in-form Mahela Jayawardene to reduce Sri Lanka to 4/1. Jayawardene hit the very first ball of the innings past the boundary ropes but edged the third ball into the hands of Yusuf Pathan at slip.
New man Vinay Kumar struck a huge blow as he removed the big-hitting Sanath Jayasuriya for a duck. Jayasuriya was caught by Dinesh Karthik at midwicket off a mis-hit pull. Sri Lanka’s score read 6/2.
Just when it looked like Tillakaratne Dilshan would take the game away from the Indians, Yusuf Pathan struck the all important blow to remove Dilshan for 33. The flamboyant batsman was caught by Yuvraj Singh at deep backward square leg.
Even after losing three early wickets, the Sri Lankan batsmen, led by skipper Kumar Sangakkara, showed no signs of slowing down as they took the total past the three figure mark in the 14th over of the innings.
Shortly after crossing the 100-run mark, Sri Lanka lost the wicket of dangerman Kumar Sangakkara for 46. Sangakkara was clean bowled by Vinay Kumar.
Much to the disappointment of the India fans, the Sri Lankan batsmen took the total past the 143-run mark, thus putting India out of the T20 World Cup.
A brilliant bowling effort by the Sri Lankan bowlers towards the end of the innings saw them restrict India to a modest 163/5 in their allotted quota of 20 overs.
Apart from Suresh Raina, who scored 63 and Gautam Gambhir’s 41, none of the other batsmen looked comfortable. For the Lankans, Thilan Thushara and Lasith Malinga took two wickets each.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first.
The Indian opening combination of Gambhir and Dinesh Karthik started well, looking to play positively as India aimed for a huge total.
Karthik (13), however, departed caught and bowled by Lasith Malinga in the 5th over of the innings with the Indian total at 30.
Gambhir became the second Indian wicket to fall after he was removed by Malinga for 41. Gambhir was caught behind the wickets with the team total just short of the three figure mark.
A little while later, the duo of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina took the Indian total past the 100-run mark in the 13th over of the innings.
Raina continued his good run of form as he scored a brilliant half-ton. Raina’s 50 came off just 37 balls and included 5 fours and a six. Raina, however, was out soon after for 63, caught by Jayawardene off Thushara.
Moments after Raina’s dismissal, Yuvraj Singh too departed after being caught by Jayawardene off Thushara for just 1.
India made three changes, leaving out Zaheer Khan, Murali Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja and bringing in Dinesh Karthik, Vinay Kumar and Piyush Chawla.
Paceman Vinay Kumar made his debut for India.
Sri Lanka also made three changes. They left out Ajantha Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal and Chanaka Welegedara.
Thissara Perera, Chinthaka Jayasinghe and Thilan Thushara were included in the final XI.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (w/c), Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Suraj Randiv, Lasith Malinga, Chanaka Welegedara, Thilan Thushara, Thissara Perera, Chinthaka Jayasinghe
India: Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (w/c), Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Piyush Chawla, Dinesh Karthik, Vinay Kumar