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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Dhoni leads India to tri-series title triumph

Dhoni leads India to tri-series title triumph

Last updated on: July 12, 2013 05:02 IST

India triumphed in the Tri-nation ODI series after defeating Sri Lanka by one wicket in the final in Port of Spain on Thursday.

Opting to field, India bowled out Sri Lanka for 201 and then chased down the target with two balls to spare. 

- Scorecard

In pursuit of 202, India lost key wickets at regular intervals but managed to get past the post thanks to a valiant unbeaten 45 from captain M S Dhoni. He was named man-of-the-match for his effort.

Team IndiaRohit Sharma also contributed a crucial 58, his 17th ODI fifty, to the Indian cause.

Rangana Herath was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with figures of four for 20, but an off-colour Lasith Malinga (1-58) made things easy for India.

Needing 15 from the last over, Dhoni smashed Shaminda Eranga for two sixes and a boundary off just four balls to finish off the game in style.

The result also meant that the Champions Trophy winners' recent run of success in the 50-over format continued.

As the captain slammed Eranga over extra cover for the winning shot, the Indian crowd erupted in joy and the jubilant players ran down the pitch to flank the man of the moment, who remained unbeaten on 45 off 52 balls.

Coming in at the fall of Suresh Raina's wicket, with India in a spot of bother at 145 for five in the 35th over, Dhoni added important runs with the lower-order, hitting five fours and two sixes in the process.

Dhoni was calculative and waited till the end before launching that one final assault which left the Lankans shell-shocked, the islanders having fancied their chances after Rangana Herath's four-wicket burst on a pitch that was not conducive for stroke-play.

While Dhoni played the match-winning knock, Rohit, who hit five fours and a six, top-scored for India with 58 off 89 balls.

Raina contributed 32 off 27 balls.

In pursuit of what seemed like a modest target, India lost Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli early to Eranga.

Sharma found an ally in Dinesh Karthik with whom he added 50 runs for the third wicket before the wicketkeeper-batsman was dismissed for 23. Sharma then forged a 62-run stand in eight overs with Raina to consolidate India's position.

Sensing the need to bid time in the middle, Sharma and Raina played sensible cricket before the Mumbaikar was done in by a Herath ball that kept low before hitting the stumps.

This was Herath's second wicket, after he sent back Karthik, who was caught by Mahela Jayawardene at slip.

Earlier, India benefited immensely after Sri Lanka's middle and lower-order batsmen committed hara-kiri, which saw the team lose eight wickets for just 30 runs before being bundled out for 201. 

Sent in to bat, Sri Lanka were sitting pretty at 171 for two in the 38th over, but lack of application saw them being packed off with seven balls left in their innings. 

Ravindra Jadeja was the most successful Indian bowler, returning figures of 4-24, while there were two wickets apiece for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin. 

Bhuvneshwar made use of seaming conditions to send back Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene. Incidentally, the duo had punished India with a double-century partnership in the match that the young seamer was dropped. 

Sri Lanka then rode on Kumar Sangakkara (71) and Lahiru Thirimanne's 122-run partnership for the third wicket to stage a fightback before their innings disintegrated largely due to some mindless batting. Thirimanne scored 46 off 72 balls. 

From a comfortable position, with about 12 overs to go, Sri Lanka were left licking their wounds at 193 for seven in the 46th over when skipper Angelo Mathews got out. None of the last six batsmen could reach double figures. 

Sri Lanka made a cautious start, but after reaching 27 in the seventh over, the islanders suffered their first blow when Bhuvneshwar changed his angle to induce an inside edge from Upul Tharanga. The ever-consistent Bhuvneshwar was at it again, in the 14th over, as he removed Jayawardene with an innocuous delivery that moved a bit on landing at the Queen's Park Oval. 

Losing the experienced Jayawardene so early into the innings was a big blow for the Lankans and they desperately needed solidity at that point of time. Sri Lanka found the answer to their worries in the form of another veteran, Sangakkara, who anchored the innings.

Sangakkara mixed caution with common sense as he realised early that playing expansive shots was not the way to go about the task on this wicket.

Playing equally responsibly at the other end was Thirimanne, who complemented his senior partner to prop Sr Lanka's innings.

 Joining hands at 49 for two in the 14th over, the two brought up their 100 partnership in the 36th over with Thirimanne cutting Ishant for a boundary. 

It was the start of batting powerplay and Lanka were straightaway on the money with both Sangakkara and Thirimanne going after Ishant who conceded 24 runs in the two overs he bowled at that stage of the game. 

After being carted for two fours through the offside by Thirimanne, Ishant was at the receiving end of Sangakkara's treatment. Not content hitting two successive fours in the 38th over's first two balls, Sangakkara launched into Ishant smashing his length ball straight down the ground for a six. 

But the over turned to be an eventful one as Ishant finally tasted success having Thirimanne caught by Bhuvneshwar at mid-off. Soon Sri lanka suffered another jolt as Ashwin joined the party by removing Sangakkara with a tossed-up ball. 

Sangakkara's mistimed drive was taken by Vinay Kumar, who ran a few steps backwards from mid-on, to complete a catch. Ashwin struck again as he had Kusal Perera, who was swiftly stumped by Dhoni.

After fighting their way back into the match, Sri Lanka were crumbling, with Jadeja having Dinesh Chandimal. Mathews followed suit as Sri Lanka's innings approached its end.