Team India continued their excellent run of form with an impressive 41-run victory over co-hosts Sri Lanka in the Super Four clash at Colombo on Tuesday, September 12. With the win, they reached the final of the Asia Cup 2023.
Winning the toss and batting first, the Men in Blue started strong and reached 80/0 in 11 overs. They were on the back of their powerful display against Pakistan, where they scored a massive 356 in their 50 overs. However, things took a complete u-turn from then as the Sri Lankan spinners suffocated the Indian batters on a pitch offering plenty of purchase.
The impressive Dunith Wellalage picked up five of the first six wickets to fall, including the two centurions from the previous game, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. He finished with 5/40, his best bowling figures, and was well supported by Charith Asalanka, who picked up four wickets.
Despite being bowled out for a mediocre total of 213, Team India put on an inspired bowling performance to restrict the hosts to 172 and win by 41 runs. Kuldeep Yadav was once again the star performer with the ball, following up on his fifer against Pakistan with 4/43 in this outing.
The victory meant that India strengthened their position at the top of the Super Fours points table, with four points in two games. It also ensured India became the first side to qualify for the grand finale of the 2023 Asia Cup, as only one of the remaining three teams can reach India’s current points tally.
It will be India’s record 11th trip to the final in the 15 editions of the Asia Cup as they will look to win their eighth title. Their opponents in the summit clash will be the victors of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka clash on Thursday, September 14.
Meanwhile, India will take on Bangladesh in their final game of the Super Fours. The game will carry no consequences for both sides, with the Tigers being officially eliminated from the tournament.
“We might as well come here and play on pitches like these” – Rohit Sharma
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma commended the side for holding their nerve and defeating Sri Lanka on a challenging pitch in Colombo.
The 36-year-old was one of the few batters who came to grips with the treacherous wicket by scoring a stylish 53 off 48 deliveries. Rohit became the second fastest batter to 10,000 ODI runs, behind only teammate Virat Kohli, during his innings.
At the post-match presentation, a delighted Rohit said:
“Was a good game. For us also to play a game like that under pressure on a slightly challenging pitch. Challenging in a lot of aspects. Definitely looking to play on pitches like this to see what we can achieve, we might as well come here and play on pitches like these.”
Team India have won all three completed games thus far against Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023.
With the home World Cup starting in less than a month, the Men in Blue will look to cap off the continental tournament with the title as the ideal build-up to the showpiece event.