With two straight losses in two matches in the Asia Cup Super 4 stage, India are on the brink of exit. Their fate is no longer in their own hands. If Pakistan beat Afghanistan on Wednesday, they will be out of the final contention. On Wednesday, India skipper Rohit Sharma scored a scintillating 41-ball 72 but it went in vain as India failed to defend a target of 174. Needing 21 in 12 balls, Sri Lanka scored 14 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, almost sealing it in their favour. After the match, former Pakistan great Wasim Akram analysed what went wrong for Bhuvneshwar in the 19th over.
“Bhuvi is a very good bowler. Don’t get me wrong but there is no pace. In T20, when you don’t have pace, especially on this kind of pitch, he’s a medium pacer, just maybe over medium pacer…135 (kmph). You need 140 (kmph) plus bowler like Jasprit Bumrah in the side. When he comes into the squad, you will have two of the best bowlers to bowl the last overs. And you need regular bowlers, who can bowl at the death. You can’t pick up someone out of the hand. It’s impossible to bowl, if you are not used to the pressure,” Wasim Akram said on Star Sports.
Chasing what looked like a par score at the innings break, the Sri Lankans were off to a blazing start with openers Kusal Mendis (57 off 37 balls) and Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37 balls) putting on 91 runs at a brisk rate.
The fifty was up in the sixth over with both batters regularly finding the gaps and the boundaries with consummate ease, putting tremendous pressure on the Indian bowling attack that looked clueless against the positive approach adopted by the two Lankan batters.
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.
In the first ball of the next over, Sri Lanka suffered a body blow as Chahal got the big wicket of Mendis, who was trapped lbw in front of the wicket.
But Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka and (33 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25 not out) remained till the end to complete the task for their team with a match-winning, fifth-wicket partnership of 64 runs.
With PTI inputs
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