INDIA LIFT ASIA CUP

June 25th, 2010 by Ravi Matah | Posted in Sports   No Comments »
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A 15-year title-drought came to an end as India, who displayed a clinical and magnificent performance, won the Asia Cup tournament after crushing defending champions Sri Lanka by 81 runs in the Asia Cup final on Thursday. 

Captain M.S.Dhoni elected to bat first after winning the toss,  India posted a fighting total of 268 for six. They then skittled out the Sri Lankan’s for only 187 in 44.4 overs. India displayed a scintillating performance in all departments of the game and won the Trophy at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Thursday. 

Karthik played exquisite shots through the covers, charged the medium-pacers for runs, and helped India on track to post a challenging total. His half century took India to a respectable total of 268 runs for 6 wickets. This, then, looked like a respectable total but never a fighting one. Sri Lanka did a splended job in containing India with good bowling and fielding otherwise India could have gone past the 300 mark. 

When Dhoni and Kartik were batting at the 25 over mark, the score read 134 for 2 and the expected total then, for India to achieve, was 280 to 290 runs. Not a single boundary was scored in the last five overs, which was actually the time for exhibiting the ODI fire-works. 

Karthik’s role  became more important after Gautam Gambhir got run out. India were 38 for 1 in the seventh over. Karthik had reached 22 off 21 by then, with 2 boundaries to his credit. 

After Gambhir’s dismissal,  Karthik played some of his best shots and also punched Maharoof for 3 boundaries in the eighth over. 

Nuwan Kulasekara and Angelo Mathews pulled India back with a spell of 26 balls for five runs. Both of them bowled accurate cutters not giving the batsmen any pace to work with. Virat Kohli, the main culprit for India in that spell, found a way out, hitting Mathews for two fours in the 14th over. Karthik joined, again with two delectable boundaries through the covers, and India were 82 for 1 after 15 overs. 

Karthik brought up his fifty with a sweep to the boundary for four of Muttiah Muralitharan. With Murali not creating any impression on the batsmen, Sri Lanka had cause for concern. 

Lasith Malinga was brought back for the breakthrough and he removed Kohli. MS Dhoni promoted himself to join Kartik. They had both put together a run-a-ball 34. Dhoni attacked the two weak bowlers on the day, Maharoof with a huge six, and Murali by dancing down the pitch and hitting him over the top. 

The Indian seam attack rose to the challenge, and got the prize scalps of Tillakaratne Dilshan (0), Upul Tharanga (16), Mahela Jayawardene (11), Angelo Mathews (0) and captain Kumar Sangakkara (17) in just 16 overs. 

Sri Lanka could never recover thereafter. Kapugedera played extremely well and his  unbeaten 55 runs, which were punctuated  with four boundaries and a six, were in fact the highlight of the Sri Lankan innings. 

Nehra was the most successful Indian bowler with 4 for 40 while Zaheer Khan and Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets each. Praveen Kumar also bowled extremely well and swung the ball both ways and managed to capture one wicket. 

Praveen Kumar got the first wicket when he had Dilshan caught at mid-on, being caught by Harbhajan Singh. 

Even as Sri Lanka had recovered from Dilshan’s fall in the first over, Zaheer Khan, bowled perfect line and in-swing and moved Tharanga’s furniture when the batsman left the ball hoping that it would go away outside the off stump. The ball broke back in to hit off stump as the left hander was doing a ‘well left’ posture, both arms sky-wards. 

Later, Ashish Nehra struck thrice in a span of seven balls after which the Sri Lankan innings never revived. 

Jayawardene was caught off the bowling of Ashish Nehra by wicket-keeper captain M. S. Dhoni. 

Angelo Mathews walked to the pitch, hoping to steer his side out of troubled waters. But the  all-rounder lasted only two deliveries, waving his bat to a Nehra delivery outside the off-stump for Dhoni to do the rest. 

Later Sangakkara  was caught at mid-on by Zaheer Khan at off the bowling of Nehra. With the Sri Lankan batting in shambles at  51 for 5, they were virtually out of the game. However, Thilina Kandamby and Chamara Kapugedera (55) fought a vain  battle, scoring 53 runs for the sixth wicket. 

Thereafter the rest of the Sri Lankan batting succumbed to the fine bowling performance by  the Indians. 

Man-of-the-match Karthik played a gem of an innings and scored an 84-ball 66, while being involved in three crucial partnerships, with Gambhir (15), Virat Kohli (28), and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (38). 

India lost Gambhir early, in the seventh over, the left-hander enjoyed two reprieves of successive balls off Nuwan Kulasekara, but failed soon. 

India were  in fine fettle when Karthik and Virat Kohli were at the crease, and at 100 for one in 18 overs, a total of around 290 looked possible. 

After the departure of Virat Kohli,  Karthik and Dhoni helped India regain the momentum, raising 46 runs for the fourth wicket.

 Karthik and Dhoni got out in quick succession and that brought India to 167 for four. 

India then recovered through   the good batting performances of Rohit Sharma (41) and Raina (29), who contributed 50 runs for the fifth wicket in 52 balls. 

With 217 runs on the board in 41 overs and six wickets in hand, a big score looked possible for India. 

But Raina’s dismissal to Malinga, denied India some more runs in the last five overs in which no boundary was scored, though Rohit and Ravindra Jadeja (25 not out) managed to accumulate some runs. 

PRESENTATIONS. 

Stylish Innings                      – Chamara Kapugadera  US $ 1500 

Maximum Sixes                    – Shared by M.S.Dhoni and Chamara Kapugadera US $ 1500. 

Fevicol Jodi of the match       – Virat Kohli and M.S.Dhoni  US $ 2000. 

Alpenlebe Hit or miss              – Dinesh Kartik  US $ 1500. 

Lord of the match                    – Ashish Nehra – Kawasaki Motor Cycle. 

Man of the match                     – Dinesh Karthik – US $ 8000, Macromax Phone and a Trophy. 

Runners up team                      – Sri Lanka  US $ 30,000 – Received by Sangakara 

Winners Team                          –  India      US $ 60,000 – Received by M.S.Dhoni. 

Man of the Series                     – Shahid Afridi  US $ 12,000 and Tata Manza Car. 

Macromax Asia Cup Trophy    –  M.S.Dhoni.

Ravi Matah.

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