India v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup 2016, Mirpur March 1, 2016

Kohli, bowlers put India in final


India 142 for 5 (Kohli 56*, Yuvraj 35) beat Sri Lanka 138 for 9 (Kapugedera 30, Siriwardana 22, Pandya 2-26, Ashwin 2-26) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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By the Numbers - Kohli Bradmanesque in 2016

Virat Kohli stroked his third fifty in as many T20s against Sri Lanka to send his team cruising to the Asia Cup final, after a tight bowling performance had restrained the opposition to 138 for 9. Kohli arrived with India wobbling at 16 for 2 in the fourth over, but soon enlisted Suresh Raina, then Yuvraj Singh, for support, in what was eventually a comfortable chase. The winning runs were hit with four balls and five wickets to spare. Kohli's share was a 47-ball 56 not out.

It had been Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah who earned India the initial impetus, however, taking out a batsman apiece during their miserly new-ball spells. Sri Lanka coughed and spluttered right through their innings, losing wickets just as a significant partnership seemed to be forming. Chamara Kapugedera top-scored with 30 from 32, before late blows from Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara propelled the team to what was a half-decent score, given the conditions. Dew would make defending it substantially harder, however.

Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and R Ashwin all took two wickets apiece for India, and Nehra made a customary early breakthrough. Ashwin was typically crafty, but the seamers' scalps were largely the result of good discipline, as Sri Lanka batsmen attempted to manufacture big strokes following long, quiet spells.

Kohli was in good touch from early in his innings, smoking Angelo Mathews through midwicket fifth ball, before pumping Nuwan Kulasekara through point before the end of the Powerplay. He'd hit one more sublime cover-drive off Dushmantha Chameera, in the first half of the innings, but largely laid low after that, mining singles and twos from the outfield instead. He ticked along, and Raina followed suit - the pair putting on 54 together for the third wicket.

When Raina departed in the 12th over, India were marginally shy of the required rate, but Kohli's assured presence warded off panic. He let Yuvraj play himself into some kind of form, and kept India striding confidently toward the total. Memorably bludgeoning huge, consecutive sixes off Herath, Yuvraj also produced his most substantial innings since early 2014 - an 18-ball 35.

Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina steadied India's chase after an early wobble © Associated Press

Pandya didn't last long against Herath, but MS Dhoni was on hand to assist Kohli with the finish. Kohli crossed fifty in the penultimate over, then lifted Herath over cow corner to reap the winning runs.

Earlier, Dinesh Chandimal creamed a four second ball, then failed to score off the next eight deliveries, before sending an inside edge to the keeper off Nehra. Tillakaratne Dilshan's modest form persisted at the other end, though he pilfered a few runs behind the wicket, before hooking Pandya to fine leg, to end on 18. With Shehan Jayasuriya also having been dismissed cheaply Sri Lanka had slipped to 31 for 3 at the beginning of the seventh over. India's seamers had made good use of the juice in the pitch - Bumrah threatening batsmen's edges, in particular.

Mathews and Kapugedera attempted to set down a platform for Sri Lanka's hitters, but their going was slow. Halfway through the innings, Sri Lanka had mustered only 47. Just when Mathews finally began to find the boundary, hitting three fours from five balls, he got himself out to an innocuous ball. Attempting to run a single to third man, Mathews played Pandya back onto his stumps, to finish with 18 from 19 balls.

There were flashes of aggression from Kapugedera and Milinda Siriwardana, who put on 43 runs off the 31 balls they had together. Siriwardana even launched Ravindra Jadeja into the sightscreen, then nurdled him to the third man fence, in successive deliveries. But, as has often been the case in recent India v Sri Lanka matches, Ashwin dealt a decisive blow, removing Siriwardana in the 17th over, before Dasun Shanaka ran himself out off a free hit, a few balls later.

Kapugedara's departure, though, brought a little acceleration. Thisara Perera bludgeoned two fours and a six in his first five balls, before charging Ashwin one too many times, in the penultimate over. Having anticipated the advance, Ashwin slipped the ball wide of off stump - conceding the extra, but claiming the wicket. Replays would show, though, that Perera shouldn't have been given out stumped. Somehow, the batsman had managed to swing his bat back into the crease before Dhoni snapped the bails off, despite the square-leg umpire having given him out immediately. Late leg-side blows from Kulasekara gave the innings a final, if futile, fillip.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sivali on March 3, 2016, 14:35 GMT

    It has been said - most recently by Sanga - that the youngsters in the Sri Lanka team need time, implying that they will learn and mature through experience. But what is really worrying about Sri Lankan cricket is, will they really? Chandimal, Thirimanne and Thisara are examples of batsmen who do not seem to have developed any "cricket sense". There is no evidence that they will develop this professionalism so important in international cricket - in sharp contrast to Sanga who learnt with every inning. The only youngsters that seem to be learning are Milinda Siriwardana and Chameera; Kapugedara appears to have learnt something at long last! The selectors should look not for raw talent but for those who have the intelligence and mindset to truly develop the talents professionally.

  • Andrew on March 3, 2016, 14:08 GMT

    Upul Tharanga seems to be in blistering form in current premiere league super-8 for NCC. Today he scored a massive 172 runs (his 3rd consecutive Ton), with 23 x 4s and 5 towering sixes with 87 SR in a 1stclass match..! His previous tons were similar. So far he had scored 510 runs with 73 Av from 7 innings with 3 x100+ and 2 x 50+. Shame for SL to discard a guy like him.

  •   Charuka Alahakoon on March 3, 2016, 13:43 GMT

    we missed a great opener like Kusal Perera, we need some extra runs in the powerplay. we need also a wicket taker like a.mendis

  • Ajith on March 3, 2016, 4:51 GMT

    Another lacklustre performance by Sri Lanka .Poor umpiring has been a contributory factor during the tournament but it is not an excuse for poor performances by this team.It is amazing that some of these players perform to maximum level when participating for other teams in IPL,CBL,Big Bash etc. Wonder whether money is the only motivator and performing well for the country is only secondary to them.

  • Travis on March 3, 2016, 3:53 GMT

    Hope the SL selectors please drop Dilshan for ever from the Sri Lankan team . He should have retired after Australia. Makes sense to play / request Mahela and Sanga to Join back if they are willing !!

  •   Srimal Silva on March 2, 2016, 18:07 GMT

    Can Sri Lanka please get rid of Kulasekera forever.. he's the biggest weak link in the bowling.. n he never gets injured.. coz hes so slow!

  • samy on March 2, 2016, 17:21 GMT

    Apparently teams are allowed to change squads till 8th for the world Cup. SL, Please get Dilshan Munaweera or someone who can clear 50yd circle in first 6 overs please. Both Dilshan & Chandimal cant do that.Its just the way they bat. I.e Kallis,Lara are great batsmen but they are not the best to open 20-20 game. We need someone like Sanath Jasuriya,Afridi,etc to open which changes the whole match.

  • Kuldeep Khatri on March 2, 2016, 16:36 GMT

    well done hardik. ur going to be next kapil dev for us.

  • Selva Kumaran on March 2, 2016, 15:47 GMT

    Bangladesh is playing with 13 players , 02 umpires included with their team. smart country .

  •   Maneesha Gamage on March 2, 2016, 15:41 GMT

    Mathew is a weak , defensive capatain. Get rid of him as captain. Malinga is the ideal candidate for the captain. What the hell he was doing with Herath. He should have balled early when we got early wickets. So pathetic, we will not win anything under him, He had a good period because he had SANGA and MAHELA to help him make decisions. Can someone plez explain the role of Kapugedara?

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