India were dealt a major blow in the Asia Cup on Tuesday as Sri Lanka defeated them by six wickets. The loss came two days after Pakistan had defeated them in the first game of the Super 4 stage. In the match against Sri Lanka, India skipper Rohit Sharma’s scintillating 41-ball 72 went in vain, as the islanders completed a chase of 174 with a ball to spare. Needing 21 in 12 balls, Sri Lanka scored 14 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, almost sealing it in their favour. Barring Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav (34) none of the other batters could fire. Former India captain Virat Kohli was out for a duck and his performance did not impress former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.
“I was surprised to see Virat Kohli bat. I was surprised and dejected too, because a top player, who seemed like breaking all batting records, looked under pressure. He played four dot balls and he looked tensed. When senior players look tensed, like Rohit Sharma’s reaction when KL Rahul got out as he rarely shows emotions, it sends a message to the dressing room that you are under intense pressure,” Inzamam noted in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
“The junior players are under pressure. I was surprised to see it. Senior may feel pressure from inside, but they don’t show pressure with the body language. The same message goes to the opposition also. But If you show that you are under pressure then it sends a wrong message to one’s own team and the opposition team. Your team goes down and the opposition goes up.”
In the match, chasing a 174-run target, the Sri Lankans were off to a blazing start with openers Kusal Mendis (57 off 37 balls) and Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37 balls) putting on 91 runs at a brisk rate.
The fifty was up in the sixth over with both batters regularly finding the gaps and the boundaries with consummate ease, putting tremendous pressure on the Indian bowling attack that looked clueless against the positive approach adopted by the two Lankan batters. However, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal had other ideas as he struck twice in the 12th over to put the brakes on Sri Lanka’s march.
Ravichandran Ashwin sent back Danushka Gunathilaka (1) to leave Sri Lanka in a spot of bother at 110 for three in the 14th over. In the first ball of the next over, Sri Lanka suffered a body blow as Chahal got the big wicket of Mendis, who was trapped lbw in front of the wicket.
But Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka and (33 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25 not out) remained till the end to complete the task for their team with a match-winning, fifth-wicket partnership of 64 runs.
With PTI inputs
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