Scorecard | Match pictures
PORT OF SPAIN: Bhuvneshwar Kumar kept up his first spell exploits as India trumped Sri Lanka by 81 runs (D-L method) to enter the final of the ongoing ODI Tri-Nation series in the Caribbean islands.
The young swing bowler’s unbelievable figures of 6-1-8-4 halted Lanka’s pursuit of a revised target of 178 in 26 overs, an initial collapse leading to full-blown devastation and concluding in a bonus point win for Virat Kohli’s team.
By virtue of being the top two sides in the fray respectively, India and Sri Lanka will contest the final on Thursday.
But like the one that preceded it, this match too appeared to be heading into a reserve day after rain restricted India’s first innings 119/3 in 29 overs.
The weather left time enough only for Sri Lanka to bat. And India's modest total was lent a veneer of fight and respectability, thanks to the mysterious ways of the Duckworth-Lewis equation.
Two in two
India had to restrict Lanka to 167 to win with the bonus point and get ahead of the Windies' Net Run Rate. They began in right earnest with dismissals off successive balls. Bhuvneshwar's angle consumed the left-hander Upul Tharanga.
On the next ball, the Meerut lad trapped Kumar Sangakkara leg before, although replays indicated a borderline decision with reference to height. Bhuvneshwar then beat Dinesh Chandimal’s outside edge on the hat-trick delivery as the injured MS Dhoni looked on proudly from the dressing room.
More drama unfolded when Yadav bruised Chandimal’s right elbow with devilish pace, recreating the torrid time Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews had given to Rohit Sharma when India batted.
Bhuvneshwar took his third as Mahela Jayawardene (11) backed away and chopped the bowler to third man and his fourth when Lahiru Thirimanne (0) slapped him straight to Kohli at cover.
Lanka were 40/4 after ten overs and the spinners, R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, completed the formalities. The chase ended on 96 in 24.4 overs.
It was Rohit’s laborious, unbeaten 48 that formed the bulk of his team’s total after Mathews elected to field in helpful conditions for seam bowling.
The Lankan captain bowled five overs for just five runs while Malinga’s three included a maiden to Kohli and went for a total of seven runs.
Rohit was nailed on the box, rapped on the gloves and dropped by Jeevan Mendis at point. But he battled through it all even as the in-form Shikhar Dhawan (15) gave Mathews the charge and edged to slip for India's first wicket.
The going was slow and just 37 came off the mandatory Powerplay. Skipper Kohli (31) looked out of sorts as he struggled to gauge the length of deliveries.
One such misjudgment cost him dear: trapped on the backfoot by a Rangana Herath slider. Dinesh Karthik (12) was done in in similar fashion, his particular case involving the ball crashing into the stumps.
By the time Rohit sought to make the most of his time spent in the middle, clouds had gathered and the impetus, besides a six off the left-arm spinner, never came.