Virat Kohli played innings of his life by tearing apart the Lankan attack and opened the doors for India to be in the finals of the Commonwealth Bank Series. The Blue Shirts triumph by a huge margin of seven wickets and earned bonus points as well.
Sri Lanka heaped 320 runs for the loss of just four wickets in the allocated 50 overs and India massacred the rival bowling attack by dispatching 321 runs in mere 36.4 overs for the loss of just three wickets.
Virat Kohli was declared ‘Player of the match’ for his authoritative and match winning innings of unbeaten 133 of 86 balls.
The 11th match of the Commonwealth Bank Series was held at Bellerive Oval, Hobart (a neutral venue) on February 28, 2012.
Earlier, MS Dhoni won the toss and put the Islanders in to bat with the vision to get them out cheaply. Mahela Jayawardene and Dilshan initiated the innings with caution and got 21 runs in the first five overs but the earlier lost his wicket for 22 as the total crept to 49 runs.
The experienced Kumar Sangakkara appeared in the centre with Dilshan, crafted the innings with sheer determination and the first hundred of the innings was scored in the 22nd over. The calculated march was continued by the both batsmen and Dilshan smashed his 11th ODI century in the 41st over and Sangakkara achieved his 13th ton in the 43rd over.
The duo shared a mammoth partnership of 200 runs for the second wicket when Sangakkara was bowled by Praveen Kumar for 105 off 87 deliveries which included two sixes and eight fours. Dilshan continued with his assault and remained unbeaten for 160 runs off 165 balls with 3 huge sixes and 11 well timed fours as the Lankan Lions piled up 320 runs with six wickets in hand.
Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja were the only bowlers who left any impression by taking one wicket each.
The Blue Shirts required winning the match in 40 overs to exist in the tournament with a bonus point and it was the possible last chance for Sachin Tendulakr to score his 100th hundred at the soil of Australia.
The innings was opened by Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar as both started off aggressively while the ball was visiting the rope quite often. The fifth over produced 15 runs with 2 fours and a six but Sehwag was caught by Dilshan off Farveez Maharoof for 30 off 16 balls with one six and 5 fours.
The openers contributed 54 runs when Gautam Ghambhir came to the crease and made his intentions clear by dispatching the balls to the boundaries very often. Tendulkar was doing well by displaying his shots when Lasith Malinga trapped him leg before wicket for 39 and the hopes for his milestone were vanished again.
The ever reliable youngster Virat Kohli was next to appear on the scene and the flow of runs was boosted up. Gambhir achieved his third fifty of the series in 23rd over and Kohli also dispatched his 3rd fifty of the tri-series in the 24th over. They were going great when Gambhir was unluckily run out for 63 as the total reached at 201 runs.
Another young gun of India, Suresh Raina joined in with Kohli and the duo punished the Lankan attack while keeping in view the limitation of their target which was supposed to be achieved within 40 overs. Kohli led the aggression by penalizing Nuwan Kulasekara for 18 in the 31st over which included 4 fours. He accomplished his first century of the series on the first ball of the 35th over off Malinga which became a nightmare for the bowler.
Lasith Malinga was humiliated for 2, 6, 4, 4, 4 and 4 in that over, gave away 24 runs which changed the complexion of the game as the Blue Shirts required just 18 runs from the next five overs. Kohli kept on murdering the Lankan bowling which looked ordinary and sent the fourth ball of the 37th over reeling over the boundary and the much required victory was snatched.
The duo shared unbroken partnership of 120 off only 55 balls, Kohli was unbeaten for 133 off 86 balls with two smart sixes and 16 sweetly timed fours as Raina assisted him well by securing the other end for 40 from 24 balls with one grand six and 3 fours.
Malinga became the most expensive bowler and conceived 96 runs from 7.4 overs while taking a wicket and Maharoof held the other wicket.
India won the most important match with seven wickets and most important of all secured bonus point and still have the chance to reach the finals.
Australia is leading the table with 19 points from 7 matches, Sri Lanka follows with 15 from 7 and India is at the bottom with 15 from 8 matches. The Blue Shirts have to wait for the next encounter between Australia and Sri Lanka duo to be played at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 2, 2012 and pray for the Aussies triumph which can involve them in the finals.