Related Links: India v Sri Lanka at Fatullah – Full Scorecard | Arise Asia Cup 2014 – Schedule and Scorecards
Kumar Sangakkara produced a superb 18th ODI century under pressure to take Sri Lanka home to a tense win over India in Match 4 of the Arise Asia Cup 2014 at Fatullah. Sri Lanka with this win are almost certain to make it to the Finals of the Asia Cup 2014.
India fought hard to defend its total of 264 before dew got the better of its bowlers. Sri Lanka prevailed by 2 wickets with four balls to spare. The Lankans had defeated Pakistan and now India to nearly book a spot in the Finals. Their remaining matches are expected to be cakewalks against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
A solid opening start between Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Perera made things easy for the Lankans in the run chase. The opening pair put up 80 on the board in 17.2 overs before Lahiru Thirimanne was lbw for 38 (from 55 balls) to a drifter from R Ashwin. The Indian bowlers were hammered by Kusal Perera, who gave them memories of the explosive Sanath Jayasuriya of the 90s!
R Ashwin, who reverted back to his old bowling action, rescued India with the prized wicket of Kusal Perera with a sharp spinning off break to force an outside edge. Kusal Perera scored 64 from 81 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes. Ravindra Jadeja brought India back in the game by removing Mahela Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal in consecutive deliveries. Dinesh Chandimal was cleaned up by a deadly arm ball from Jadeja.
Sri Lanka suffered two more blows to struggle at 183 for 6 in 39 overs courtesy of Mohammed Shami. However, Kumar Sangakkara held his nerve to take his side on the brink of a victory by smacking a century in 83 balls. Sangakkara got out for 103 (from 84 balls with 12 fours and a six) to a high full toss from Mohammed Shami with SL needing only 7 more runs.
The Sri Lankan management cleverly held back Thisara Perera in the batting line-up. And even without his fireworks, Sri Lanka could get to the target without much fuss in the end. Although Shami took three wickets he was taken for as many as 81 off his 10 overs. The best bowler for India was Ravindra Jadeja with 3 for 30 in 10 overs. R Ashwin was average with 2 for 42 in his 10. Kumar Sangakkara was the Man of the Match ahead of Ajantha Mendis who did have a great impact in the first half.