This was surely one of the best matches I have seen thus far in this year’s ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
Opting to bowl first were the Sri Lankans. Setting a solid foundation for the Indians were openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. They will have an opening partnership of 138 runs. This tremendous partnership was broken in the 25th over as Lasith Malinga bowled a short-ball and Sharma blasted it into the deep resulting in him being caught. Sharma will depart on a well played 78 runs which included 6 4s and 3 6s, India now 138-1. In came Virat Kohli who lasted just 5 balls when he clipped one to the wicketkeeper , he went for a golden duck. Yuvraj Singh struggled to get into groove as he was bowled by Asela Gunaratne, he made 7 runs. India’s run rate started to decline as they made just 13 runs in overs 26-31.
However, with the introduction to MS Dhoni to the crease this will change as he and Dhawan started to restore India’s innings. Dhawan will eventually get to his 10th ODI hundred with a boundary, he was removed in the 45th over ending his innings on 125 runs inclusive of 15 4s. Dhoni will reach his 62nd ODI 50 in the 48th. The Indians ended their innings on a massive 321 runs losing 6 wickets.
Back from the interval Sri Lanka came out determined to get a victory against the Indians. Although, losing Dickwella in the 5th over for just 7 runs, the Sri Lankans never lost hope. Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis steadied the Sri Lankans ship as they destroyed the Indian bowlers with their remarkable batting. Rotating the strike not always going for the massive hits, well disciplined and thought out plan to getting the required runs. India had some missed chances in the field as they dropped catches and had a couple of miss fields. These two will put on a 159 runs partnership before the Indians will strike. Gunathilaka will be the first to go as he was run out in the 28th over by Dhoni/Yadav, Mendis will go 26 runs later also being run out by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Gunathilaka ended on 76 runs and Mendis finished with 89 runs. At this stage India were sneaking a comeback, there will be no comeback. Captain Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera continued to guide the Sri Lankans ship. This pair had a partnership of 75 runs in just 10.2 overs.
Unfortunately, for the Sri Lankans Perera had some bothering hamstring issues which resulted into him being retired hurt, he ended on 47 runs. There was no stopping the Sri Lankans though as Asela Gunaratne played a quick 34 runs from 21 balls. Their well deserved victory will come in the 49th over, 322-3, Mathews ended on 52 runs. Sri Lanka won the game by 7 wickets, giving them 2 points.
With this win all teams in Group B have an equal chance to get to the next stage of the tournament, having 1 win and 1 loss each.