A quickfire half-century by skipper Rohit Sharma helped Team India reach a challenging 173/8 at the end of their 20 overs against Sri Lanka in crucial Super Four clash in Asia Cup 2022 on Tuesday. Except for a 97-run stand between Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav, the Lankan bowlers did not allow any big partnerships, having destroyed its top order earlier. The momentum again swung in Lanka's favour after fall of Suryakumar's wicket.
Starting the inning and fielding first, pacer Dilshan Madushanka kept Indian openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma quiet in the first over, giving only four runs. Rahul tried to loosen his arms in the second over by spinner Maheesh Theekshana, smashing a half-volley down the extra cover for four. But he was trapped lbw in the next ball after making 6 of 6 balls. India was at 11/1 at this point. This brought star batter, Virat Kohli, to the crease. He could not stay on the crease for too long as Madushanka dislodged his stumps, sending him back for a duck. India looked in trouble at 13/2.
Suryakumar Yadav was next up on the crease. Sharma took off some pressure by hitting Asitha Fernando for a four and a six. Rohit continued to hit some solid shots to take India through powerplay without any further damage. At the end of 6 overs, India was at 44/2, with Rohit (29*) and Suryakumar (6*).
The duo helped India cross the 50-run mark in 7.1 overs. They kept the scoreboard ticking, hitting some big shots occasionally. They brought up their 50-run stand in 37 balls. Sharma brought up his 2nd T20I fifty of this year and his 28th of his career with a four in the 10th over in just 32 balls. The 10th over bowled by Asitha gave away 14 runs.
At the end of 10 overs, India stood in a much better situation with 79/2, with Rohit (53*) and Suryakumar (17*) on the crease. Rohit and Suryakumar continued to punish Lankan bowlers, without letting the two early wickets affect them.
The 97-run stand off 57 balls was ended by Chamika Karunaratne, who dismissed Rohit Sharma for 72 made of 41 balls. He was caught by Pathum Nissanka at deep-point. India were now 110/3. All-rounder Hardik Pandya was next on the crease. Soon after, Suryakumar was caught out by captain Dasun Shanaka for 34 runs of 28 balls. He was caught by Theekshana at short third man. India at this point was 119/4.
Rishabh Pant was next on the crease, who got off the mark with a brilliant boundary over deep midwicket and followed t with another to end the 15th over. At the end of 15 overs, India were 127/4, with Pant (8*) and Hardik (4*). Pant-Pandya kept the scoreboard ticking for India with some occasional big hits and strike rotation.
Shanaka dismissed Pandya for 17 off 13 balls and India suffered its fifth blow at 149 runs. Deepak Hooda was next on the crease. His stay at the crease did not last long as he was clean bowled by Madushanka for 3 off 4 balls.
Miseries continued for Team India as Pant was dismissed for 17 soon after Hooda. He tried to hit it big over deep midwicket but was caught by Nissanka on delivery bowled by Madushanka. India was running out of its recognised batters and was at 158/7. Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had the responsibility to hit some runs to take India to a competitive total. But Karunaratne clean bowled Bhuvneshwar for a duck.
India ended their innings at 173/8, with Ashwin (15*) and Arshdeep (1*). Madushanka was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka with 3/24 in four overs. Shanaka took two while Theekshana and Karunaratne took one each.
Sri Lanka need 174 runs to win the match and solidify their chances to make it to the final.