India end Sri Lanka’s winning run to qualify of the final of Asia Cup 2023

The Indian team celebrates its win against Sri Lanka which also took them into the final of the Asia Cup

The Indian cricket team is truly back to its best form as they have recorded two incredible victories over rivals Pakistan and Sri Lanka to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup 2023 tournament, being played in the island nation. 

On Tuesday, India defeated Sri Lanka by 41 runs in what turned out to be a low thriller which was dominated by spin bowlers from both the teams.

Sri Lanka’s 20 year old all-rounder Dunith Wellalage was the hero of the match even though he ended up on the losing side. The left-arm spinner first took a splendid five wicket haul while dismissing the Indian top order and then played a crucial knock of 42 not out with the bat lower in the order to keep Sri Lanka’s hopes alive, in what turned out to be an excellent chase but unsuccessful one for the home team.

But it was India who were the superior team on the night under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma. After the Indian captain scored his 51st half century to make 53 from 48 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes, he also became only the sixth Indian cricketer ever and 15th overall in the history of one-day international cricket to make more than 10,000 runs.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill provided India with a strong start as they added 80 runs for the first wicket, post which the Indian team struggled against the left-arm orthodox spin of Dunith Wellalage and Charith Asalanka, who shared nine wickets between them.

In fact, it was the first occasion in the history of the Indian team in one-day international cricket that all 10 wickets fell against spin bowlers as Sri Lanka and Chennai Super Kings spin bowler Maheesh Theekshana took one wicket in his 9.1 overs for 41 runs.

But the hero of the Sri Lankan bowling attack on Tuesday was young all-rounder Dunith Wellalage, who returned with a splendid spell of spin bowling, recording numbers of 10-1-40-5. Charith Asalanka was also impressive as he returned with numbers of 9-1-18-4. 

Despite a half-century from Rohit Sharma and crucial knocks from Ishan Kishan 33 and KL Rahul 39, India were bowled out for 213 with a lead contribution of 26 not out from Akshar Patel taking them past the 200 run mark.

In their chase of 214, Sri Lanka made a poor start with Jasprit Bumrah taking two wickets upfront which put up a lot of pressure on the home team batting line-up. But despite getting starts, the home team batsmen were not able to convert their starts and play longings as each one of them was guilty of succumbing to pressure, which was created by the Indian bowlers in an excellent manner.

Dhananjaya de Silva played a crucial knock of 41 from 66 balls with five boundaries right until the end as his partnership with the young all-rounder Dunith Wellalage nearly took Sri Lanka close to the finish line but the Indians were able to clinch victory and make it to the final of the Asia Cup 2023 by 41 runs. 

Kuldeep Yadav, who had taken a splendid five wicket haul against Pakistan on Monday night, was once again the crucial factor for India as he took 4/43 from his 9.3 overs and was well supported by all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who took 2/33 from the last 10 overs. 

Among the other Indian bowlers, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah took 2/30 from seven hours whereas Mohammed Siraj and Hardik Pandya bowled five overs each to take 1/17 and 1/14 respectively.

The Indian team, which has been playing regularly since the last three days, will now get a short break before they take on Bangladesh in an inconsequential match since Rohit Sharma and his team have qualified for the final, to be played on September 17, Sunday in Colombo.