Shocking. Humiliated. Atrocious. These three words were the first that came to my mind when Srilanka chased a mammoth 321 runs target in 48.4 overs. Srilanka never fell out of gas during the course of this big chase whatsoever. With just 3 wickets gone, they had plenty of arsenal left in the tank still. In high-scoring matches like this, one cannot afford to allow the opposition to have wickets in hand. But that is exactly what Srilanka did. Batted with composure and temperament the whole innings, even better when they did it without losing wickets.
Angelo Mathews amid the overcast conditions at the Kensington Oval, won the toss and decided to field against a strong Indian side that completely massacred Pakistan the match before. One would have thought Mathews should probably have batted first, because its never easy to defend against India. Srilanka had a set of youth and inexperienced but talented group of batsmen so batting first would have suited them better. But Mathews & Co had other plans while they took the field. Dhawan and Rohit set out to bat. They laid the foundation for yet another 300+ score. Dhawan – Rohit made their 10th century stand off just 58 innings. These two have been the best for sometime now. Meanwhile Rohit departed for 78. How well have the Indian openers batted, they both have fifties in both the matches. Dhawan went one step above and notched up his 10th hundred. De Villiers the other day, Kohli today sometimes events like these are essential to prove they are human as well. M.S. Dhoni came in to bat and joined hands with Dhawan. Dhawan perished for 125, but Dhoni kept the scoreboard ticking and continued till the end. Jadhav and Dhoni ensured India went above 300. India finished at 321/6 from its 50 overs. India scored 103 off the last 10!
In the absence of Tharanga, it was Danushka Gunathilaka who opened the batting with Dickwella. Gunathilaka has not played much cricket, but I knew he can bat. He proved to be a blessing in disguise as he scored a blistering 76 off 72 balls. It was demoralizing for the Indian bowlers to say the least. The pitch played good, the bounce was good and the batsmen could do their strokeplay efficiently. When Mendis also joined him, Indian bowling was in dismay. This was the same attack that had dismissed Pakistan for 164. Kohli looked clueless as a captain, he even brought himself to bowl but with no major effect. The end was near, one could sense it from the offset. Pandya and Jadeja had bowled well against Pakistan and they were praised well, but they turned to be too expensive. Batsmen took chances against Jadeja, never allowed him to settle and batted with aggression and intent. You could sense pandemonium in the Indian think tank. Both of these batsmen departed in the 28th and 33rd overs respectively. Kusal Perera came in. I still remember critics saying how wasteful he has been as a batsman and squandering opportunities, but on the day when it mattered he blossomed like hercules. He went after the bowlers and humilated them. He was forced to retire hurt when he was on 47. If you thought Srlanka would crumble after that, Gunaratne and Mathews showed how to finish off the good work done by Mendis and Gunathilaka. Mendis finished off the game in 48.4 overs, pulling Umesh Yadav behind square to complete a massive victory for Srilanka.
Srilanka will take a lot of inspiration from this match. They can be proud of themselves. The match reminded me of the victorious Lankan team in 1996 World Cup where they beat teams against all the odds and claimed the cup. Srilanka can be mighty proud of themselves and look forward to qualifying for the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.
77 – Dhawan is the fastest to 10 ODI centuries among Indian batsmen. He beat Virat Kohli by 3 innings. The fastest to 10 ODI centuries overall is Quinton De Kock from 55 innings.
3 – Dhawan has scored 3 hundreds in Champions Trophy. This is the joint highest number of hundreds in Champions Trophy. He joins the elite club of Ganguly, Gayle and Gibbs.
10 – Dhawan – Rohit pair has 10 century stands in ODI. The highest number of centruy stands is 26 by Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. Dhawan and Rohit are 15th in the list.
7 – Dhawan is the quickest to 500 runs in Champions Trophy history. He took just 7 innings to achieve 500 runs. He averages 92.66 in Champions Trophy. Champions Trophy legend!
322 – This is Srilanka’s highest total in Champions Trophy. This is also the 4th highest overall by any team in Champions Trophy.
38 – It took 38 years for Srilanka to win an ODI against India in England. They beat India in 1979 prior to this win.
3 – This is India’s third successive century stand by the opening pair of Dhawan and Rohit. They become the first Indian openers to do so.
61.40 – This is the highest average among Indian batsmen against Srilanka.