India were guilty of dishing out a performance against Sri Lanka that was nearly identical to that against Pakistan on Sunday. And with a second defeat inside three days, India’s hopes of progressing to Sunday’s final of the 2022 Asia Cup are all but over. India recovered from a poor start after being sent in to bat and were actually in the driver’s seat midway through their innings.
Despite losing wickets in a heap in the latter half of their innings, especially towards the slog overs, they managed to put up a competitive total of 173/8. The bowling unit, however, looked clueless against the opening pair of Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis, the pair adding nearly a hundred runs. Read: Repeat of poor batting, bowling performances leave India with nothing to showAnd after a brief scare at the hands of spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin in the middle overs, it was up to skipper Dasun Shanaka and rising batting star Bhanuka Rajapaksa to finish the job for the five-time champions, who are now virtually assured of a place in the final with two wins in as many games.
The bowling unit was once again guilty of leaking too many runs in the death overs, and the focus will fall on senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who went for 14 runs in the crucial penultimate over after conceding 19 against Pakistan two days ago. Arshdeep Singh was disciplined with his yorkers in the final over and despite being left with just seven to defend off six — for the second time in a row — he managed to take the game to the penultimate delivery. Looking back at the events of the third Super 4 clash of the ongoing tournament, we bring to you five key moments from the India-Sri Lanka game:India’s top-order collapse:Unlike the dream start against Pakistan, India ended up losing two wickets inside three overs after being sent in to bat by the Sri Lankans.
KL Rahul was trapped leg-before off Maheesh Theekshana’s bowling while Virat Kohli got his stumps flattened by a sharp inswinger from Dilshan Madushanka in the third over, collecting his first duck against Sri Lanka in T20Is. It was yet another instance of the Indian top-order failing to fire in a crunch game. While Rahul has had a tough run so far in the Asia Cup and briefly appeared to regain his form in the match against Pakistan on Sunday, it was all the more disappointing for Kohli, who came into this match on the back of consecutive half-centuries.
Middle-order fails to fire yet again:Rohit Sharma injected a welcome dose of energy into the Indian innings with a scintillating 41-ball 72 that was every bit a captain’s knock. His partnership with Suryakumar Yadav, worth 97 for the third wicket, put India at the driver’s seat at one stage, from where a score in the range of 190-200 looked possible at one point. And yet they finished with 173/8 on the board — a total they would’ve felt was below what they would’ve expected at the halfway stage.
And the fingers in this case will surely point towards the middle-order, who couldn’t quite make the most of the momentum that the Rohit-Surya partnership had created. Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant tried to get going, but ended up getting dismissed for identical 13-ball 17s while Deepak Hooda turned out to be a disappointment, collecting just 3. Had it not been for Ravichandran Ashwin’s little cameo towards the end, India wouldn’t have even got past 170 in the first place.
India’s familiar issues with left-arm pace:India’s problems with left-arm pace just don’t seem to end. Whether Mohammad Amir in the 2016 Asia Cup and the 2017 Champions Trophy final, Trent Boult in the 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final or Shaheen Shah Afridi in last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE, it is the uncomfortable angle along with the movement created in both directions by left-armers that Indian batters just haven’t been able to adjust to. It was evident once again in the manner in which Dilshan Madushanka kept the Indian batters quiet with his spell of 3/24.
Madushanka cleaned Kohli up in the third over of the innings with one that angled back in and flattened the stumps, and he would later remove Hooda and Pant inside three deliveries to halt their charge in the penultimate over. Nissanka and Mendis’ powerplay fireworks:Sri Lanka’s powerplay batting performance couldn’t be any more contrasting that India’s. While the Men in Blue lost two wickets upfront and only started to accelerate following a counter-attack from Rohit in the fifth over, the Sri Lankan opening pair of Nissanka and Mendis attacked from the word go.
The pair ended up collecting 57 runs without losing their wickets at the end of six overs, with 18 of those runs coming off the fifth over, in which Arshdeep Singh got smashed for two fours and six. The pair would go on to add another 40 runs in the next five overs, and just when it seemed they would guide the team home all by themselves, in came Chahal with the breakthrough. Chahal keeps India’s hopes alive:Despite the kind of start that the Sri Lankans got off to, India still managed to take the game to the penultimate delivery of the innings.
And this by no means would’ve been possible had it not been for the efforts of the spin pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin, especially the former. Chahal, who had a forgettable outing against Pakistan on Sunday and wasn’t quite among the wickets in this tournament, reignited India’s hopes with a double strike in his third over, removing a well-set Nissanka (52) and new batter Charith Asalanka (0) in a space of four deliveries. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who had been drafted into the XI mainly due to the number of left-handed batters in the Sri Lankan lineup, removed Danushka Gunathilaka for 1 as the southpaw holed out to long off.
Chahal would then collect a third wicket for himself at the start of his final over by trapping another set batter in Mendis LBW. Bhuvneshwar’s penultimate over:Bhuvneshwar Kumar will perhaps be identified as the ‘Match Ka Mujrim’ by many a news channel after yet another poor performance from the veteran seamer in the crucial 19th over of the innings. However, one look at his performance from the evening, and you will realise Bhuvneshwar wasn’t exactly wayward throughout his spell.
Bhuvneshwar had in fact bowled a tidy first over, starting off with five dots in a row. Though he conceded a boundary each in each of his next two overs, he still had things fairly under control with an economy under six. However, it was in the match-deciding penultimate over where Bhuvi lost the plot for a second game running; while he leaked 19 runs against Pakistan on Sunday, he conceded 14 against the Lankans two days later.
And the pattern was fairly similar, the bowler only increasing the pressure on himself and on his team by bowling wides and conceding boundaries by the side. Once again, Bhuvi left Arshdeep just seven to defend off six balls; though the young seamer bowled his heart out, it ultimately couldn’t avert a deserved defeat for the Men in Blue. Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News, India News and Entertainment News here.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. .