Sri Lanka staged a surprise at The Oval on Thursday as they defeated defending Champions India by 7 wickets and with 8 balls to spare. Batting first, India rode on a superb century from Shikhar Dhawan and fifties from both Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni to post a high total of 321/6 in their 50 overs. Sri Lanka lost the wicket of Niroshan Dickwella quite early in their chase. However, calm and composed fifties from each of Dhanushka Gunathalika, Kusal Mendis and skipper Angelo Mathews saw them home against the defending champions.
Let us now have a look at the five talking points from the match.
1) Yet another century stand between Dhawan and Rohit
The opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan is on its way to being the most successful Indian opening pair. They put on a century stand between themselves in this match as well. It was a partnership of 138 runs which started off slowly and then took off as the innings went on. However, just after Dhawan scored his fifty, Rohit departed for a well compiled knock of 78(79). It was Lasith Malinga who accounted for his wicket and broke the partnership.
2) Shikhar Dhawan’s fabulous century
100 for @SDhawan25!
— ICC (@ICC) June 8, 2017
Dhawan played the second fiddle in his partnership with Rohit Sharma. However, once Rohit departed, Dhawan teed off and unleashed his wrath on the bowlers. He smashed 125 runs in 128 deliveries and his innings was star-studded with a total of 15 fours and 1 six. He batted till the 45th over until Malinga claimed his wicket. By then, Dhawan had set a nice platform for a big score.
3) Gunathalika-Mendis partnership after Dickwella’s wicket
The partnership of 159-runs for the second wicket between Dhanushka Gunathalika and Kusal Mendis turned out to be the real game changer. Both batsmen looked to be in fine touch and tormented each of the Indian bowlers. Both batsmen kept batting at run-a-ball and never let the run rate creep up. Gunathalika made 76(72) and Mendis made 89(93).
4) Two Run-outs that couldn’t turn the tide in India’s favour
It seemed quite impossible to dismiss either of Gunathalika or Mendis. Only a piece of brilliance could change things up for India. And it appeared in the form of two superb Run-outs. First, it was the combination of a superb throw from Umesh Yadav and lightning fast whipping of bails by MS Dhoni that got rid of Gunathalika in the 28th over with Sri Lanka reduced to 170-2. And then it was a superb fielding effort off his own bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar that caught Mendis short of his crease. Sri Lanka were thus reduced to 196-3 in the 33rd over and it could well have changed the course of the match.
5) Quick-fire innings from Mathews, Perera and Gunaratne saw Sri Lanka home
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) June 8, 2017
After they lost both Mendis and Gunathalika, skipper Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera carried on the good work and stitched together another important partnership. Perera was the aggressor in the partnership with a knock of 47(44). However, an injury forced him to go back to the pavilion retired hurt. Asela Gunaratne walked out to bat and blasted 34*(21) along with Mathews scoring 52*(45) to see Sri Lanka home with 7 wickets and 8 balls to spare.
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