India v Sri Lanka, tri-series, Port-of-Spain July 9, 2013

Bhuvneshwar, Rohit carry India to final


India 119 for 3 (Rohit 48*) beat Sri Lanka 96 (Bhuvneshwar 4-8) by 81 runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

After a four-and-a-half hour rain interruption, Sri Lanka had ten wickets available over a truncated 26 overs to chase 178. India needed to restrict Sri Lanka to 167 or below to make the final ahead of West Indies. In an ideal Twenty20 world, this was a situation loaded in favour of the chasing side. The Queen's Park Oval pitch, with patches of green spiced up by all the rain, was an ideal Test bowler's paradise, though. And Bhuvneshwar Kumar used it to perfection, ending the chase early and taking India to the final with a spell of 6-1-8-4, his best international figures.

Bhuvneshwar got the ball to do so much, even survival became a lottery, leave alone a chase that began at an asking rate of close to seven an over. Some moved in, some moved away, some hit a green patch and bounced extra, with Bhuvneshwar's impeccable control forcing the batsmen to play at almost everything. It was only his 16th ODI, but Bhuvneshwar has already built up a reputation for striking early in his spell. Again, he did not disappoint.

Upul Tharanga flashed to the slips in Bhuvneshwar's second over, Kumar Sangakkara got a first-ball shocker of a leg-before decision, Mahela Jayawardene could not keep a cut down, and Lahiru Thirimanne hit an airy drive. In no time, Sri Lanka were 31 for 4, and India already had the final within their sights. Of course, it was the asking rate that made the batsmen play all those strokes, but against the combination of Bhuvneshwar and the pitch, the attempts were doomed to fail. The spinners found generous help from the pitch as well, and made sure there was no fightback from the Sri Lanka lower middle order. The margin of the win showed just how futile a T20-style chase can be on a difficult pitch.

This pitch was so difficult it forced even the usually flashy Rohit Sharma to play the survival game. A battered and struggling Rohit fought the conditions, his own lack of touch, and a disciplined Sri Lanka attack but still hung in to build a base for India. But we will never know what could have been in this Rohit knock as the rain terminated India's innings at 119 for 3 in 29 overs.

Though the normally free-flowing Rohit's grind wasn't easy on the eye, it was far more refreshing to see him unwilling to fall to a soft dismissal, though he benefited from a dropped catch off Lasith Malinga when on 11.

Despite West Indies losing both their games on the same ground after choosing to bowl, Angelo Mathews had no hesitation in doing the same. And his attack bowled far better than West Indies had, which was highly commendable, considering they had sent down 41 overs a day ago against the hosts. There was swing, seam, sharp lift, and the occasional low bounce.

Rohit was beaten several times by the movement initially, but to his credit, he played the original line close to his body. For some time, Virat Kohli looked even more uncomfortable than Rohit had and even played out a maiden to Malinga for the first time.

Kohli slowly started to come to terms against the fast bowlers and put away the rare wide delivery. Perhaps the pitch made Kohli hesitant to get forward against spin as well, and led to his downfall, when he went back and was caught in front by a flighted Rangana Herath slider, cutting short a second-wicket stand of 49 in 14.1 overs.

Rohit, meanwhile, continued to find it hard, inside-edging onto the box, and taking blows on the glove. He did slog-sweep Herath for six but the left-arm spinner hit back in his next over, when another India batsman played back to him. This time, Dinesh Karthik got a turner that spun away to hit his off stump. India were three down now, making it even more important for Rohit to not give it away. As it turned out, though, he had already done enough, after which Bhuvneshwar took over.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on July 11, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    as for D/L method no of wicket matters it gives best scenario of prediction in favour of team bat first .in this case india might went 119/ 3 to 150/6 in nxt 5- 10 overs if they bowled . but this is how it been calculated and every team must calculate this at every over of match.yes this time india were lucky to get more runs but these were not excuse for defeat .the best team is the one need to come up with win in any wicket against any conditions and shouldnt rely on any player.if SL is given 178 they need come up and show they r best team but very dis appointed to hear from mattews blaming rain and pitch.i think he doesnt deserve best captain srilanka

  • Praveen on July 11, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    Come on guys, SL fans say that SL team was mentally tormented and wasn't able to chase down the target cuz of D/L. I'm wondering what else these guys could come up with as an excuse. 176 is a below par total for a 26 over chase. remember when India chased down a mammoth 320+ within 38 overs... that's called temperament. this SL side never had that and will never have that. Finals is already lost for them mentally by the arrival of the master MSD!!

  • sachinsss on July 11, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    @am5786 -- Looks like you like many others are the baby boomers of cricket. the D&L method has been around for 15 years now... NOT 1 , Not 2 , but 15 !!!. Yes, it has the drawbacks of not being able to take wicket conditions into consideration. But thats the drawback in cricket in general. There is always the scenario of one of the teams playing on a different pitch. Sometimes the wicket breaks down and makes batting for 2nd team difficult, sometimes it eases up and makes batting 2nd easier and sometimes due to rain it can make the team batting second tougher. But weather conditions has always been part and parcel of the game since day 1. the only way to avoid this is to play Indoor cricket where weather conditions can be nullified. Tendulkar suggested breaking ODI innings into 4 innings instead of 2. This can reduce the toss win factor and weather conditions to some extent. But looks like none of the boards are finding this feasible.

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    I don't have the D/L formula, but to me that is the best available solution to get results on rain-affected/truncated matches.

    Srilanka scored from 144/1 - 29 overs - end up scoring in 348 against India (RR: 4.96 to 7) India 141/2 - 29 overs - end up scoring 311 again WI (RR: 4.66 to 6.22 ) This shows.. the available resources will have impact on the final score and D/L fairly takes this into account. So.. India from 119/3 - 29 overs... would have easily ended up scoring around 260 (RR: 4.10 to 5.2) Target of 261 target in 50 overs with all 10 wickets in hand is equivalent to 225 in 40, 190 in 30 or 178 in 26 overs. So this target is fair and I would have accepted even if India had to chase this. I agree, D/L is not taking into account the weather conditions which is difficult to factor.

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    To all who are criticizing D/L revised target - The system uses the number of wickets remaining as the basis for projection of final score.It was 176 because India lost 3 wickets.SL team has themselves to blame for the whole saga.First they won the toss and let opposition to bat.Then they couldnt attack much and managed to take only 3 wickets for 119.Instead when they came to bat they found it hard even to score a 100 and couldnt last even for 25 overs.So SL team deserves this defeat.If the same has happened to India, I wouldnt be complaining as the system works the same for both the teams

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    Congratulations to SL fans and some Pakistani fans for finding a new excuse when SL gets thrashed by India.Its the D/L system now fellas ... Let the rants begin

  • Albert on July 10, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    Srilanka might as well be re-named to WhineLanka. Enough with the whining please. Get a grip and focus on why SL is playing so badly in cricket.

  • Anil on July 10, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    @ Rahul Sen-every time Sri Lanka wins against India, its because the Sri Lankans are so immensely talented and dominating and professional and champions. But every time India wins, its because Indians are so lucky, rain helps them, D/L is cruel and biased, fatigue due to playing three days in a row, Dhoni made the difference, toss in favor of India, umpires gave wrong decisions, India didn't use DRS, Inida playing cricket since long time, India made flat pitches, India made square turning dust bowls, India had more supporters in the field, India had home advantage, this games was unnecessary, this was India's day and last but not the least "Sri Lanka is a small island and India has more population". Heard them so much that I can remember each of them. Still I think i missed a few newer ones. IT IS PERFECTLY SAID AND MAY THE EXCUSES FROM LANKAN FANS GROW-Thanks Rahul for the perfect analysis.

  • Anil on July 10, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    Till now, Losing toss, Bad Umpiring, Key players missing, SL players getting on field injuries, pitch playing against SL batsmen & bowlers were the reasons behind SL defeats against India. Now, SL fans have added Duckworth Lewis to the list. The sri lankan reasons for defeats and not seeing reality grows and grows. The stats show that Lanka have lost 77 one day matches to India-lost 15 test matches and are yet to win EVEN 1 TEST MATCH ON INDIAN SOIL.Hope lankan fans take sport in the right spirit.

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    why there's so much fuss on loosing a game by sl fans when sl are in the finals already? i hope we'll have a full 50-overs final this time?