Hardik Pandya : India captain Rohit Sharma expressed the importance of the pressure game against Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup, saying it will challenge various aspects of their game in preparation for the upcoming World Cup.
Electing to bat, India were reduced to 213 runs, but their bowlers produced an outstanding collective performance to secure a 41-run victory and a place in the final of the continental tournament.
Rohit Sharma’s half-century (53 off 48 balls) was the cornerstone of India’s innings, despite flurries from Sri Lankan spinners Dunith Wellalage (5/40) and Charith Asalanka (4/18).
Led by Kuldeep Yadav’s exceptional figures of 4/43, India outplayed Sri Lanka by 172 runs.
India qualified for the final with four points, where they will face either Sri Lanka or Pakistan in Sunday’s summit clash. “It was a good game. For us too, to play such a game under pressure. Tested many aspects of our game,” Rohit said in the post-match briefing.
“We definitely want to play on such grounds to see what we can achieve.”
Rohit was credited for his efforts with the ball by Hardik Pandya (1/14) and Kuldeep Yadav (4/43).
He (Hardik) has worked hard on his bowling over the last two years and it is a pleasure to see him play this spell. Not an easy goal to defend. Towards the end, the pitch got a bit better so we had to keep our nerve and bowl constantly, said the skipper.
“(Kuldeep) bowled very well again last year. He has worked a lot on his pace and the results are visible in the last 15 ODIs he has played. He gives us a lot of options. So going forward, that’s a pretty good sign.”
Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka was surprised by the turn of the wicket but praised young Wellalage for an all-round performance.
Wellalage first seized the toss with the first five wickets and then remained unbeaten on 42 off 46 balls, although there was a continuing stalemate at the other end of the wickets.
We didn’t expect such a visit, but after the first 10 overs, we entered the match brilliantly with the spinners.
“The luxury of two genuine bowlers is great, they did well in the nets but their performance was excellent. After the last Bangladesh match, I felt he (Wellalage) was doing something special,” said Shanaka.