A remarkable batting display from Sri Lanka has thrown group B wide open, as they pulled off a stunning run-chase to defeat defending champions India by seven wickets at The Oval in London on Thursday (June 8).
Chasing 322 for victory, Sri Lanka reached the target — their equal-highest ODI pursuit ever — with only 3 wickets down and 8 balls to spare, with Danushka Gunathilaka (76) and Kusal Mendis (89) starring in the record-tumbling pursuit. The chase was brilliantly set up by a 159-run union between the aforementioned two for the second-wicket partnership before captain Angelo Mathews (52*) and Asela Gunaratne (34*) sealed the victory.
It also marked the highest-successful chase in the tournament’s history, previous best being England’s remarkable 308 run-chase against Bangladesh at the same venue on June 1.
Earlier, Mathews put India into bat under gloomy London skies but Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dawan took advantage of the lack of movement in the air, putting up a yet another century stand — their fourth in the Champions Trophy history — to set the platform. Dhawan notched up his 10th ODI century in the 77th innings of his career to make 125 while Sharma contributed a swift 78.
Despite Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh — their heroes from the previous match — misfiring, India manage to reach 321 in their allotted quota of 50 overs, with MS Dhoni scoring a quickfire 63 and Kedar Jhadav playing a brief cameo of 25.
With this Sri Lanka win, all four teams in Group B now have one win from 2 games next to their name in the points table, meaning the winners of next two matches of the group will advance to the semi-finals and the losers eliminated.
India will take on South Africa on at The Oval on Sunday (June 11) while Pakistan and Sri Lanka will square off in Cardiff on Monday (June 12).
Sri Lanka 322 for 3 (Mendis 89, Gunathilaka 76, Mathews 52*) beat India 321 for 6 (Shikhar Dhawan 125, Rohit Sharma 78, MS Dhoni 63) by seven wickets.
“We felt we had enough on the board, we trusted out bowlers, but Sri Lanka were pretty good. They kept the momentum through the innings, they picked their areas to hit and executed really well,” Kohli said, “There’s always hindsight. I thought we bowled decently. But when you don’t execute properly, there is always food for thought. Here you have to give credit to the other team. In a tournament like this especially.”
“It’s one of the top wins, to beat India. It was a fantastic wicket. The bowlers did brilliantly to restrict India to 321. it’s a very chaseable target,” Mathews said, “I tried to hit as many balls in the nets as possible, it makes you feel good and that helped me come back from injury. Wasn’t easy for Gunathilaka to walk into the side and bat like how he did. Kusal is a great player, and Kusal Perera also batted really well. Those partnerships were crucial. It’s a must-win game for all of us in the group. Not many people expected us to win and that took a lot of pressure off us.