Cricket: India Win Micromax Cup-2012! Beat Sri Lanka 4-1!

India beating Sri Lanka 4-1 in Sri Lanka is indeed music to ears. India have won the fifth and last one day international cricket match against Sri Lanka by 20 runs today in Pallekele. They have won the Micromax Cup-2012 winning the series 4-1. With this series win India climbed to No.2 position in the ICC one-day rankings. They could have regained the No.1 spot had they won 5-0.

Powered by Indian skipper Dhoni’s quick-fire 58 off only 38 balls India set a challenging target of 295 runs before Sri Lanka for a victory in the fifth and last one day international cricket match of the Micromax Cup in Pallekete today. Dhoni was ably supported by all-rounder Irfan Pathan in a decisive partnership. Earlier, winning the toss and electing to bat first India banked heavily on Gambhir’s solid knock of 88 runs to build the innings. Virat Kohli started well, but could not last long. Rohit Sharma failed for the fifth time and Suresh Raina, the stylish unbeaten finisher of the last two matches, fell for a first ball duck. Manoj Tiwary (65) gave Gambhir good support and the duo crafted a fruitful partnership of 110 runs to put India in relative comfort. The Indian innings folded up for 294/7 in 50 overs. For Sri Lanka, Malinga was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.

Chasing a daunting target of 295 the Sri Lankan innings progressed in fits and starts. Dilshan fell in the 6th over after a brisk start and then Tharanga and Thirimanne took the score to 61 when Tharanga fell in the 8th over. Three more wickets went down in a hurry and India looked to take full command of the match with Sri Lanka reeling at 102/5. But the most rewarding partnership of the innings evolved then between relatively inexperienced Thirimanne and Mendis adding 102 runs. The duo brought Sri Lanka within striking distance of victory when Thirimanne was run-out for 81 runs. They needed 91 runs off 85 balls at that juncture with four wickets in hand. As Perera started extending a fitting support to the free flowing Mendis the match headed for an exciting finish.

With Indian bowlers lacking penetration to finish off the Sri Lankan tail the huge target of 295 runs suddenly looked easy with asking rate coming below run a ball. The wickets of Perera (18) and Mendis (72) in quick succession finally prevented Sri Lanka from running away with an exciting victory. Pathan took these two crucial wickets and increased his tally to 4 wickets. But Sri Lanka refused to give up the chase and made the World Champions sweat for their victory. It was Pathan again who bowled the ninth wicket in form of Senanayaka to reduce Sri Lanka to 266/9 still needing 29 runs to win. Dinda finished off the last man and Sri Lanka were all out for 274. The Scorecard:

Irfan Pathan was adjudged the man of the match for the second five-wicket haul of his career and also for his sound contribution with the bat. Virat Kohli was rightfully awarded the man of the series trophy. 

 This has been a fruitful cricket series for India with many positives coming out in batting from Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. But the Indian bowling continues to be a worrying factor with the new pacers yet to find line and length. Irfan Pathan and Manoj Tiwary have shown all-round abilities, but they have to be consistent enough to allow Team India to solve the dilemma of going for 4 or 5 bowlers. The Series had been overshadowed by the London Olympics, but in the end it proved to be an exciting event with the rewards going India’s way. 


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