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India overhaul SL's 320 in 36.4 overs to stay alive

Last updated on: February 28, 2012 17:06 IST

Virat Kohli blasted an unbeaten 133 as India scored an incredible victory over Sri Lanka, chasing down a mammoth 320 in only 36.4 overs, to rekindle their hopes of making it to the finals of the tri-series, in Hobart, on Tuesday.

- Scorecard

Needing to win the crucial game in 40 overs to get a bonus point and stay afloat in the tournament, the beleaguered Indians rode on Kohli's breathtaking assault and useful contributions from the other top-order batsmen to pull off a sensational victory when it mattered most.

- How the teams stand

Put in to bat, Sri Lanka posted a mammoth 320, built around Tillekaratne Dilshan's career-best 160 not out and Kumar Sangakkara's 105.

The Indians, in reply, left the islanders stunned -- maintaining an unbelievable run-rate of 8.75 runs per over throughout the chase -- getting to 321 with 80 balls to spare, well inside the required 40 overs.

Virat KohliKohli smashed 16 boundaries and two sixes during his whirlwind 86-ball knock. He registered his ninth ODI ton in the process, his second against Sri Lanka, off 76 balls.

India now await the result of the last league match between Australia and Sri Lanka to know their fate. They will qualify for the best-of-three-finals only if Australia beat Sri Lanka in the last league game.

Australia, who are already through to the finals, lead the table with 19 points, while Sri Lanka and India are tied on 15, the latter having completed their league engagements.

Much as Kohli deserves applause, the role played by openers Virender Sehwag (30, 16 balls, 5x4, 1x6), Sachin Tendulkar (39, 30 balls, 5x4), and the two subsequent batsmen, Gautam Gambhir (63, 64 balls, 4x4) and Suresh Raina (40, 24 balls, 3x4, 1x6), were no less critical.

Kohli shared two century stands -- 115 runs off 109 balls with Gambhir, and 120 from only 55 balls with Raina.

India always kept themselves in tune with the required run-rate of eight per over, reaching 160-2 in 20 overs and 230-3 in the 30th over. The final 91 runs came off only 40 balls.

Sehwag and Tendulkar began belligerently and 50 runs came in the first six overs itself. The floodgates opened in the second over from Kulasekara when Sehwag lofted him over mid-off. He then square drove the medium-pacer and did not spare Lasith Malinga either, twice bludgeoning him past mid-wicket and once lofting him over square leg for a six.

Tendulkar wasn't a slouch either. He twice square drove Kulasekara to fence and once smashed Malinga through covers.

The introduction of Ferveez Maharoof cost India their first wicket. Sehwag once pulled him over mid-on for four, but, in trying to do an encore, was caught by Dilshan for 30 runs.

He faced only 16 balls and hit five fours and a six.

Tendulkar, at the other end, still looked to attack, lofting Maharoof and Malinga for a four each. But in an attempt to glide a stump-delivery from Malinga past fine leg, he was adjudged leg before wicket by umpire Simon Taufel.

With a licence to go for their shots, Gambhir too lost little time in attacking the bowlers. He slashed Kulasekara past point and then walked out to lift him between mid-on and midwicket. He once edged Malinga between slips for four as the 100 of the innings was up in the 11th over.

The next few overs were one of consolidation. Gambhir and Kohli rotated the strikes at will and there were a few boundary hits to go with it.

Sri Lanka delayed the bowling Powerplay but India's run-rate was unaffected. The 150 of the innings came in the 19th over with a massive six over mid-off by Kohli against Angelo Mathews.

India were 160 for 2 after 20 overs, requiring exactly the same equation in the final 20 overs.

Gambhir soon completed his half century off 47 balls, with five fours. Kohli completed his own in the next over, off 44 balls, inclusive of three fours and a six.

The century stand between the two came in the 25th over.

India now needed 131 runs from 15 overs to claim the bonus point. The batting Powerplay was claimed in the 28th over, India being 199 for 2 at this stage.

India lost Gambhir at this stage, run out for 63 off 64 balls, with four fours. India's scoring had dropped between 25th and 29th over as only 24 runs came from four overs.

The 30th over, bowled by Lasith Malinga, again brought a spurt in scoring. Fifteen runs came off this over and India now needed 91 runs from the final 10 overs with seven wickets in hand.

Next over from Kulasekara yielded 18 runs, including four fours, and India were now sprinting towards victory with bonus point. The bowling Powerplay yielded 58 runs.

Now aware that the momentum was with them, India opted for the batting Powerplay in the 33rd over, as soon as the bowling Powerplay ended.

The match was as good as over when Malinga conceded 24 runs in the 35th over, bringing down the equation to only 18 runs from next 30 balls.

Sangakkara and DilshanEarlier, India produced a listless bowling display as Dilshan equaled his career-best score with an unbeaten 160, his 11th century in 230 ODIs and the first in a year, while Sangakkara scored a quickfire 105 to register the 13th century of his career.

Dilshan anchored Sri Lanka's innings and hit 11 fours and three huge sixes during his 165-ball unbeaten stay.

Sangakkara, on the other hand, was at his destructive best, piling up his 105 runs off just 87 balls, with eight boundaries and two huge hits over the fence.

Dilshan and Sangakkara got together after the 12th over and maneuvered the score till the 44th over, putting together exactly 200 runs for the second wicket, the biggest stand of the series so far.

In with an outside chance to book a place in the best-of-three final of the series, Mahendra Singh Dhoni had no hesitation in bowling first after winning the toss.

The Lankans got off to a decent start with captain Mahela Jayawardene and Dilshan putting together 49 runs for the first wicket before the former was caught by Virender Sehwag at slips off Ravindra Jadeja.

The dismissal forced Dilshan and new-man Sangakkara to slow down and they raised their scores mostly in ones and twos, with occasional hits in between to raise the team's 100 in the 22nd over.

Dilshan was the first to reach his half century, hitting five fours off 68 balls. Sangakkara followed suit and reached the landmark in 55 balls.

With their eyes firmly set, the duo then stepped up the tempo and claimed the batting powerplay after 32 overs, with Sri Lanka's score reading 150 for two. The batting powerplay yielded 41 runs for the islanders.

Dilshan was the first to reach his century, when he pushed Jadeja through mid-on and claimed a single in the 41st over.

Two overs later, it was Sangakkara's turn to raise his bat when top-edged Zaheer through point and third man to pick two runs.

But soon after scoring his ton, Sangakkara departed in the 44th over; he tried to smash Praveen Kumar on the on-side but missed it completely was bowled.

Thisara Perera (3) didn't last very long either.

But the loss of wickets failed to put the brakes on Dilshan, who did not spare a single Indian bowler, to pile up the team's 300 in the 48th over.

India's bowling and fielding both looked listless and they did not look like a side desperate to win the game with a bonus point.

Zaheer (1/61), Praveen (1/64) and Jadeja (1/43) shared three wickets between them, while other dismissal came in the form of a run-out.

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