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ICC World Cup: Rohit Sharma, Rahul shine as India beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets

ICC World Cup: Rohit Sharma, Rahul shine as India beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets
Courtesy "twitter/ICC"

Leeds [UK]: Centuries by Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul guided India to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at Headingley on Saturday.

With the win, India have moved up to take the first place on the World Cup standings with 15 points from nine fixtures.

Elsewhere, if Australia beat South Africa they will regain their top spot on the table, then India will meet England in the second semi-final on July 11. However, if Australia lose to South Africa, then India will end as table toppers and meet New Zealand in the first semi-final on July 9.

Chasing a moderate target of 265, India got off to a fantastic start. Rohit and Rahul stitched a solid 189-run partnership for the opening wicket. Along the way, the hitman Rohit became the only batsman to smash five centuries in a single edition of the World Cup.

The ton also marked Rohit’s third consecutive 100 in the tournament. Only ten players have achieved this feat of smashing back-to-back three successive centuries in ODI cricket. In the list, skipper Virat Kohli also features as he had hammered three tons last year against West Indies.

After playing a knock of 103 runs, Rohit gave an easy catch to Angelo Mathews off Kasun Rajitha’s delivery in the 31st over. With his three-figure score, Rohit surpassed Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan to become the highest run-getter in the tournament. The Hitman now has 647 runs under his belt.

The India skipper joined Rahul and the duo formed a brief 55-run stand for the second wicket. Kohli surpassed former cricketer Sourav Ganguly’s 1006 runs to become India’s second-highest run-scorer at the tournament with 1029 runs and is now behind Sachin Tendulkar’s 2278 runs.

Rahul raised his bat to celebrate his maiden World Cup century. Soon after his ton, Malinga got Rahul caught behind for 111. Rishabh Pant joined Kohli but his time on the crease short-lived as Pant got leg-before off Isuru Udana for four.

Hardik Pandya hit the winning single and took India over the line with 39 balls to spare. Kohli and Pandya remained unbeaten on 34 and seven, respectively.

Earlier, Angelo Mathews’s century powered Sri Lanka to pose 264 for the loss of seven wickets after electing to bat first.

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera opened the inning. However, Sri Lanka suffered an early blow as they lost Karunaratne (10) in the fourth over. Jasprit Bumrah struck for India, Karunaratne tried to play the cut short but the ball went to the hands of wicket-keeper MS Dhoni.

Kushal Perera (18) stitched a 23-run brief partnership with Avishka Fernando before the former was sent back to the pavilion by Bumrah in the eighth over. The team could not recover from there and lost two quick wickets as Kusal Mendis (3) and Fernando (20) failed to leave their mark.

After the fall of four wickets at the score of 55, Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne built a crucial partnership of 124 runs in the middle overs. Mathews smashed his third ODI hundred against India. Thirimanne played a knock of 53 runs before he was dismissed by spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the 38th over.

Dhananjaya de Silva joined Mathews and both built a partnership of 74 runs to help Sri Lanka go past the 200-run mark. In the 49th over, Bumrah finally got rid of Mathews (113), who played a short that landed in the hands of Rohit Sharma at the extra cover. Silva remained unbeaten on 29 runs.

Brief scores: India 265/3 (KL Rahul 111, Rohit Sharma 103, Kasun Rajitha 1-47) beat Sri Lanka 264/7 (Angelo Mathews 113, Lahiru Thirimanne 53, Jasprit Bumrah 3-37) by seven wickets.

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