After an ordinary bowling performance, the young Sri Lankan batsman played fearless cricket to beat tournament favorites India by 7 wickets in a do or die match in the ICC Champions Trophy at Kennington Oval, London last evening. Captain Angelo Mathews believed the win was inspired by Kumar Sangakkara’s words of wisdom.
The win also molded the last two games into quarter-finals in Group B. Therefore, Sri Lanka will have to beat Pakistan to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament.
“Kusal met Sanga to get some batting tips because he is the king.We all look up to him and take advice from him, all the batters. He taught us good things about how to play on these tracks. The guys met him, took a lot of advice and went out there and did it today,” said the Sri Lankan captain.
Moreover, legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame at the innings break. All in all, it was a fantastic day for the boys in blue and yellow.
After being put on to bat first, Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan laid the platform to capitalize in the middle overs. Sharma was dismissed for 78 but Dhawan went on to make 125 in128 deliveries. Dhoni’s half century in the latter part of the innings steered India to a massive total of 321 in 50 overs. Asela Gunaratne was the only Sri Lankan bowler to maitain a good economy rate.
In response, Niroshan Dickwella was dismissed early trying to fetch a deliver from outside off stump. Danushka Gunathilaka played his shots alongside Kusal Mendis to see past the new ball. Both Gunthilaka and Mendis were run out for 76 and 89. Kusal Perera continued with the good work in Angelo Mathews’ presence. However, an unfortunate injury forced Perera out as Sri Lanka had the advantage over India. Asela Gunaratne’s swift cameo saw the side through to a seven wicket win. Angelo Mathews made 56 in just 45 deliveries to aid the record chase.
“I personally thought we had enough on the board. You have to give credit to the opposition as well. We are not invincible. We are playing against a champion side. These are the top eight teams in the world so there are no guarantees,” said Virat Kohli.
Kusal Mendis was adjujded player of the match.
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