The partnership of Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis of Sri Lanka helped the team beat India in the Asia Cup Super 4 match at the Dubai International stadium. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani /Gulf News

Match summary — Sri Lanka power to a six-wicket victory

Sri Lanka raced to a six-wicket victory over India with one ball to spare in a crucial Super 4 game of the DP World Asia Cup. Openers Kusal Mendis (57 off 37 balls) and Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37) put on an explosive stand of 97/1 in 11 overs as the islanders chased 174 for victory. Even the loss of four wickets didn’t stop the Sri Lankan march to victory, which puts them in sight of a place in the final.

After two losses, a title tilt is now a mirage for India, who now have only a mathematical chance of making the final. That too is dependent on the result of other matches, which means their fate is not in their hands.

When the Sri Lankans were blazing away, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s double strike gave India a lifeline with a double strike. He went on to pick up one more wicket while Ravichandran chipped in with one. But Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25 in 17 balls) and skipper Dasun Shanaka (33 off 18) ensured there were no hiccups as they shared an unbroken 64-run stand that took Sri Lanka to victory.

Put to bat earlier, India struggled to post 173/8, and the lone bright spot was captain Rohit Sharma’s 41-ball 72 on a slow pitch at the Dubai International Stadium. The early exits of KL Rahul (6) and Virat Kohli (0) didn’t rein in Sharma, who unfurled an array of brilliant strokes in the company of Suryakumar Yadav, and the pair notched 97-run partnership. Although Rishabh Pant (17 off 13) and Hardik Pandya (17 off 13) stitched together 39 runs, India never looked like registering an imposing total.

Sri Lanka’s Dilshan Madushanka came away with three wickets, while Shanaka picked up two.

Sri Lanka retain control despite loss of 3 wickets

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal gave India a lifeline with a double strike in the 12 over, but that wasn’t enough to trip up Sri Lanka’s chase of the 174-run target.

After Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37 balls) put on a rollicking stand of 97/1 in 11 overs, Sri Lanka lost Nissanka and Charith Asalanka. Soon Ravichandran accounted for Dhanuska Gunathilaka.

Sri Lanka are 110/3 in 14 overs, which means they need 64 of 36 balls with seven wickets in hand. Advantage Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka in control of the chase

Sri Lanka shot off the blocks in chase of India’s 173 with Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka blazing away to 57/0 in the powerplay. Indian bowlers looked clueless, and the Sri Lankan openers lashed them around.

The wicket no longer seemed slow as Nissanka (48) and Mendis (37) racked up 85/0 in 9 overs. The match is very much in Sri Lanka’s grasp.

Midway summary — Rohit Sharma helps India post challenging total

Rohit Sharma’s 41-ball 72 was the lone bright spot as India struggled to come to terms with a slow pitch as they posted 173/8 against Sri Lanka.

Opting to bowl first, Sri Lanka put India under pressure, grabbing two early wickets in the powerplay at the Dubai International Stadium. The swift exits of KL Rahul (6) and Virat Kohli (0) didn’t rein in Sharma, who unfurled an array of brilliant strokes in the company of Suryakumar Yadav.

The two pushed the scoring rate up with a 58-ball 97-run partnership for the fourth wicket, although Yadav (34 off 29 balls) was not at his fluent best. Their departure slowed India, but Rishabh Pant (17 off 13) and Hardik Pandya (17 off 13) stitched together 39 runs for the fifth wicket.

With wickets falling regularly, the Indian assault in the slog overs never came. The 173 might be good enough on the slow wicket, but early wickets are critical if India have to win and preserve their chances of remaining in the hunt for a place in the final.

Rohit Sharma’s exit slows India

Two quick wickets, including the scalp of skipper Rohit Sharma (72 off 41 balls), slowed India as they reached 140/4 at the end of 17 overs against Sri Lanka. Sharma had unleashed an array of brilliant strokes as the Indian scoring picked up pace. But his departure was followed by the exit of Suryakumar Yadav (34 off 29) slowed down India. Sharma and Yadav had added 97 in quick time. The flagging run rate received a boost with the arrival of Rishabh Pant.

Rohit Sharma’s fifty sets up India

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma led from the front with a 32-ball 52 to steer India 79/2 at the end of 10 overs against Sri Lanka. Put into bat at the Dubai International Stadium, India lost two wickets early: KL Rahul was trapped in front by off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana, and left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka bent one between the bat and pad of Virat Kohli.

India recovered through a third-wicket stand of 66 from Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav. After a brief lull, runs are coming at a fair clip as Sharma stepped on the accelerator.

Sri Lanka seize the early initiative

Sri Lanka claimed two wickets through Maheesh Theekshana and Dilshan Madushanka to grab the early momentum as India finished the powerplay at 44/2. After Dasun Shanaka opted to bowl, India were slow off the blocks, and it became slower after KL Rahul (6) and Virat Kohli (0) fell cheaply.

Skipper Rohit Sharma (29 off 18 balls) settled down to play some good shots, including a pulled six off Asitha Fernando.

The toss and team changes

Sri Lanka have won the toss and elected to bowl.

No changes in the Sri Lankan side. One change for India with Ravichandran Ashwin replacing leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, more in view of the three left-handed batters: Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dhanuska Gunathilaka.

Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wicketkeeper), Charith Asalanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (captain), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka.

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin.

India to pull out all stops to win the clash

Dubai: India must win today’s (September 6) game against Sri Lanka in the DP World Asia Cup. Or else, they could be at the mercy of other results and the run rate. Not a comforting thought. So, the Rohit Sharma-led side will have to pull out all stops to not just win but win comfortably at the Dubai International Stadium.

That may not be easy. Because Sri Lanka come into the Super 4 match on the back of hard-fought wins against Bangladesh and Afghanistan. In both the games, the batting clicked into place as they chased tall targets.

That means the Indian bowling should be on the spot. The Indian batting looked good in the loss against Pakistan, but the tepid pace against spin and the tendency to lose too many wickets are worrying. Sri Lanka have quality spinners, but the same cannot be said about the seamers.

So India have a slight advantage in this game.