Tuesday 26 February 2008 

India Into CB Series Final After Comprehensive Win


Sri Lanka 179 (Kapugedera 57, Kumar 4-31, I Sharma 4-41)
India 180-3 (Gambhir 63no, Tendulkar 63)

India won by seven wickets and make the CB Series Finals

A comprehensive seven-wicket victory for India saw them book their place in the final of the Commonwealth Bank series. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 179 with Praveen Kumar taking four for 31 and Ishant Sharma four for 41 in Hobart.

Half-centuries from Sachin Tendulkar (63) and Gautam Gambhir (62 not out) helped India chase down their victory target with plenty of time to spare.

Chasing 180 for victory Indian openers Sachin Tendulkar and Robin Uthappa got India off to a flying start, scoring nine runs of the first over of their innings which was bowled by Chaminda Vaas.

Perhaps a touch over confident, Uthappa tried to flick Malinga through mid wicket, but got a leading edge and was caught at mid on, for 11 from just nine balls, this left India 18 for one in just the second over of their reply.

Uthappa�s wicket did not halt the Indian's progress at all, as Gambhir, who has been in superb form this tournament and Tendulkar, continued to score at a rapid rate. India found themselves 62 for one after ten overs and appeared to be cruising towards their victory target.

Tendulkar eventually departed for a wonderfully made 63 from just 54 balls, his first 50 of this series, when he was caught by Chamara Silva off the bowling of Muralitharan.

However his partnership of 102 runs with Gambhir had put India firmly in control. The fall of Tendulkar�s wicket saw India 120 for two in the 21st over.

Tendulkar�s wicket brought Yuvraj Singh to the crease. Yuvraj and Gambhir continued to attack the Sri Lankan bowling and really punished any bad balls that came their way, as India raced to 148 for two from 25 overs and were on course for an easy victory.

Gambhir continued his good form, and reached his 50 in the 27th over as India continued to cruise towards victory.

With victory in sight Yuvraj fell to a good catch from Dilshan for an impressive 36 from 34 balls. Although it was a boost for Sri Lanka it was simply delaying the inevitable, as India found themselves 171 for three, just nine short of victory.

India duly sealed a comprehensive seven wicket victory in the 33rd over. Gautam Gambhir finished up on 62 not out.

India�s victory means that they have now confirmed their place in the best of three match final, starting on Sunday against Australia.

Earlier in the day MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to field first, as India bundled Sri Lanka out for 179. Praveen Kumar took four for 31 and Ishant Sharma four for 41. Only Chamara Kapugedera (57) put up any real resistance for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka had looked in a decent position at 77 for one with Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya both going along nicely, but Sangakkara�s wicket in the 15th over signalled a collapse which Sri Lanka never recovered from and they will now just be playing for pride in their final game of the tournament against Australia on Friday.

Aaron Kumar
� Cricket World 2008





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