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India vs Sri Lanka: Centurions Rohit & Rahul Help Produce Perfect Performance Ahead of Semis

Cricketnext Staff |July 7, 2019, 1:51 AM IST
India vs Sri Lanka: Centurions Rohit & Rahul Help Produce Perfect Performance Ahead of Semis

Indian openers Rohit Sharma (103) and KL Rahul (111) slammed centuries as India demolished Sri Lanka by seven wickets in their final league-stage match of the 2019 World Cup at Headingley on Saturday (July 6).

With 15 points to their name and Australia having lost to South Africa in the last group-stage game of this tournament, India finished on top and will take on New Zealand in the semifinals in Manchester on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Australia will face their arch-rivals England on Thursday.

Angelo Mathews' third One-Day International century - all against India - helped Sri Lanka to a total of 264 for 7. Mathews came in with Sri Lanka at 53 for 3, saw them slip to 55 for 4, and then revived them with a steady 113 off 128 balls. He received good support from Lahiru Thirimanne, who made 53 in a 124-run stand for the fifth wicket. However, the early damage by Jasprit Bumrah who ended with 3 for 37 meant Sri Lanka had to settle for a moderate score.

In response, Rohit continued his amazing form and equaled Sachin Tendulkar's record for the most centuries in World Cups - six. He became the first batsman to score five centuries in a single World Cup. Kumar Sangakkara, the former Sri Lankan batsman, had made four centuries in 2015. Rohit along with Rahul added 189 runs for the opening wicket but both of them departed after completing their centuries. Kohli then did his thing and got India over the line with 39 deliveries to spare.

Rohit and Rahul came all guns blazing and didn't allow any Sri Lankan bowler to settle in. Both of them started the proceedings with a couple of solid shots through the off side and even went after Lasith Malinga. Sri Lankan bowlers weren't consistent with their line and length and the two batsmen made the most of it.

Dimuth Karunaratne tried out every option available but not one of them could keep Rohit and Rahul in check. Rahul was still slightly sedate with his approach but Rohit kept going hard from the start and was super aggressive against Dhananjaya de Silva. The Mumbai batsman welcomed him with two maximums down the ground and completed his half-century. Rahul did the same as he slammed Dhananjaya to get to his half-century.

In the process, Rohit also became the leading run-scorer in this tournament and became the second Indian batsman after Tendulkar to score over 600 runs in a World Cup. The two batsmen looked untroubled during their stay in the middle and it was Rohit who brought up his record hundred with a pull towards deep mid-wicket.

Rohit however couldn't get going and fell to Kasun Rajitha as he chipped one straight into the hands of the mid-off fielder, but only after smashing 14 fours and two sixes. Rahul was then joined by Kohli and the two got India closer to the target

Rahul, who last scored an ODI century on his debut against Zimbabwe, got to his second with a tap towards third man for a single. It looked like Rahul would get the job done but the Karnataka batsman fell to Malinga who had him caught behind with a short delivery.

Kohli remained unbeaten on 34 and fed on whatever was left after two openers almost had the entire meal.

Earlier, Sri Lanka opted to bat first but got off to a poor start as they lost openers Karunaratne and Kusal Perera within the Power Play, both caught behind to the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah. Both batsmen looked to target Bhuvneshwar Kumar, hitting him for two boundaries each. But they had no clue against Bumrah, who began with two consecutive maidens including the wicket of the Sri Lankan captain. He followed it up with the wicket of Kusal Perera in his next over.

Bhuvneshwar conceded 36 runs from his first five overs, but he should have had Kusal Perera before Bumrah did if not for a drop catch by Kuldeep Yadav. Sri Lanka managed 52 for 2 in the first 10 overs, with Avishka Fernando beginning well with some lovely strokes even off Bumrah.

But things went downhill further as Ravindra Jadeja had Kusal Mendis stumped in his first over and Fernando gloved Hardik Pandya to Dhoni, looking to guide it towards third man. At 55 for 4 in the 12th over, Sri Lanka were in danger of folding for a poor total.

That's when Mathews and Thirimanne showed their experience and stepped up, batting through the middle overs without much risk. They knocked the spinners around and gradually rebuilt, without worrying too much about the scoring rate.

The scoring rate improved each time Bhuvneshwar came back to the attack - it seemed like Sri Lanka had decided to target him through the innings. Bhuvneshwar's day got worse when he dropped a simple catch off Mathews, then on 61, at long-on off Jadeja. The pacer eventually ended with figures of 10-0-73-1.

Thirimanne too steadily got past his half-century before he fell, looking to attack Kuldeep and ending the 124-run stand for the fifth wicket. Mathews kept them going for a while, going past his century.

However, Sri Lanka couldn't finish too strongly as they scored only 64 runs in the last ten overs.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more