India tonight stormed into the final of the Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament with another comfortable five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka, riding on Virat Kohli’s unbeaten half-century.
It was their third successive victory, clinching a berth for the summit clash as they now stand on the cusp of their sixth continental championship trophy.
After the bowlers restricted Sri Lanka to 138 for nine, the ‘Men In Blue’ overcame the early hiccups as they reached the target in 19.2 overs. It might look close from the scoreboard but India always had control of the match.
The ever-consistent Virat Kohli once again made a significant contribution with a 56 not out off 47 balls with seven fours.
But the innings of the match was certainly played by Yuvraj Singh, who showed glimpses of his vintage self during a cameo of 35 from only 18 balls that had three sixes and two boundaries.
Yuvraj once again proved the old adage that class is permanent as he effortlessly shifted gears from the last match, where he just wanted to build a partnership with Kohli.
Tonight, he came in at 70 for 3 with the team still needing another 69 runs. By the time, he was gone trying to hook Thisara Perera, he added 51 runs in 5.4 overs with Kohli and more so ended whatever little chances that Sri Lanka harboured in the match.
He started with a slashed four off Dasun Shanaka, and then hit two sixes off Rangana Herat over long and deep mid-wicket. Another six over cover point and a four effectively closed out the match.
While Hardik Pandya (2) was fooled by an arm ball from Herath, a Mahendra Singh Dhoni straight six and a couple of boundaries from Kohli finished the proceedings.
India’s opening pair of Rohit Sharma (15) and Shikhar Dhawan (1) did not fire as Nuwan Kulasekara bowled an inspired first spell getting the deliveries to move both ways.
One such delivery that moved in after pitching (away going for left-hander) found Dhawan poking at it to give a catch to Chandimal behind the stumps.
Sri Lanka: 138 for 9 in 20 overs (Chamara Kapugedera 30; R Ashwin 2/26, Jasprit Bumrah 2/27, Hardik Pandya 2/26).
India: 142 for 5 in 19.2 overs (Virat Kohli 56 not out, Yuvraj Singh 35; Nuwan Kulasekara 2/21).