An excellent attacking knock by captain Rohit Sharma (72 off 41) lifted India to a challenging 173-8 against Sri Lanka in a Super Four match of the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, here on Tuesday.
After Rohit, Suryakumar Yadav (34 off 29) was the second top-scorer for India, who would have wanted more contributions from their lower-order batters.
Put into bat first, India were off to a bad start, losing K.L Rahul (6) and Virat Kohli (0) inside the first three overs. Maheesh Theekshana first trapped Rahul on a swinging delivery and then pacer Dilshan Madushanka got rid of Kohli for a four-ball duck, putting India in trouble at 13-2 after 2.4 overs.
Despite losing the wickets, skipper Rohit Sharma stayed true to the batting doctrine that he and the management have imposed on the team and decided to counter-attack. The opener smashed Asita Fernando for 14 runs, taking India to 44/2 after 6 overs.
Even after the powerplay, the Indian skipper continued leading the way with his aggressive style. On the other hand, Suryakumar Yadav was still not able to get going but India were going strong with 79/2 after 10 overs.
Premier Sri Lankan spinner Hasaranga wasn’t too effective and Rohit took him to the cleaners, hitting him for two sixes and a four, for an 18-run over. It was Chamika Karunaratne, who eventually gave Sri Lanka the much-needed breakthrough by removing Rohit for 72 on a short ball.
The score was 110/3 after 12.2 overs when Rohit was dismissed and India were looking set for a strong finish but didn’t arrive with wickets going down in a heap. After Suryakumar got out while playing an instinctive ramp shot, the onus was on Hardik Pandya (17) and Rishabh Pant (17) to finish well for India but they got out at crucial junctures.
Deepak Hooda (3) also couldn’t do much despite getting a lifeline. Eventually, it was Ravichandran Ashwin (15 off 7) who hit a six in the last over to take India to 173 for 8 in 20 overs.
Brief scores: India 173 for 8 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 72, Suryakumar Yadav 34; Dilshan Madushanka 3/24, Chamika Karunaratne 2/27, Dasun Shanaka 2/26).