Many questions will be asked indeed of the Indian team that squandered a good opening position and let Sri Lanka back into the game to win in thrilling fashion off the last ball in the Super Eights match of the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, more preciously at the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia. Sri Lanka were certainly keeping their hopes alive of a semi final spot and hoping Australia do beat the West Indies.
Without much fanfare or flair, India managed to reach ninety for two by the end of ten overs. Digging in were Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina, the latter posting yet another half century, sixty-three runs off forty-seven balls. Gambhir had forty-one runs against his name and it seemed to be going pretty well as far as India were concerned.
Murali Vijay was replaced by Dinesh Karthik but it did not seem to unravel the team as India were about in steady, even sedate fashion, quietly making a strong start.
But thereafter the wheels came off. When it was time to accelerate, the Indians got stymied by Lasith Malinga and Thissara Perera strangled the Indians for want of runs. If India were looking make anything in the region of 180-200, they would have been utterly disappointed with a par score of 163.
Sri Lanka’s hopes of wanting to win the match outright would have suffered a setback with both, Mahela Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya by Ashish Nehra and Vinay Kumar as Sri Lanka tumbled to two down for only six runs in the second over.
But Sri Lanka’s middle order came to the rescue. First there was the consolidating partnership between Tillekeratne Dilshan and the Sri Lankan captain, Kumar Sangakkara. Where Dilshan made thirty-three runs from twenty-six balls, Sangakkara was the joint top scorer of the innings with forty-six runs from thirty-three balls.
With Sri Lanka needing a little more than two runs per ball in the final five overs when Vinay Kumar got rid of Sangakkara, Angelo Matthews and Chamara Kapugedera provided the fireworks. Needing a surplus of eight runs per over did not daunt the all rounders who managed to find the boundary a couple of times in successive overs.
With India’s winning thrown out of the window, Sri Lanka pressed for a final assault. Needing three runs from two balls, it appeared they had sealed it before Matthews was run out for forty-six runs off the penultimate ball. But the determined Sri Lankans managed to win the match by five wickets as Kapugedera sent the final ball sailing over the boundary ropes for a six!