India secured their spot in the 2023 World Cup semi-finals with a commanding performance, overwhelming Sri Lanka by a staggering 302 runs in Mumbai on Thursday.
The unbeaten hosts executed a flawless strategy at the Wankhede Stadium, with three of their batsmen achieving half-centuries, propelling them to a commanding total of 357-8. Subsequently, their fast bowlers decimated Sri Lanka’s top order, reducing them to a precarious 3-4 and ultimately dismissing them for a meager 55 in just 19.4 overs.
Jasprit Bumrah (1-8) delivered a crucial breakthrough on the first ball of Sri Lanka’s chase, trapping Pathum Nissanka leg before with a late outswinger. Mohammad Siraj (3-16) followed suit, dismissing the other opener, Dimuth Karunaratne, with his first delivery.
The pivotal moment arrived when Siraj dismissed captain Kusal Mendis with a well-executed leg cutter. This sudden collapse, with Sri Lanka losing four wickets for just three runs, brought back memories of their dismal performance when they were bowled out for 50 by India in the Asia Cup final.
The in-form Mohammad Shami then took over, claiming two vital wickets in his opening over, further diminishing Sri Lanka’s resistance.
Shami was particularly lethal, taking five wickets for a mere 18 runs, including the dismissal of the last recognized batsman, Angelo Mathews, whose stumps were uprooted by an inswinging delivery, epitomizing Sri Lanka’s challenging day.
On the batting front, Virat Kohli narrowly missed equaling Sachin Tendulkar’s all-time record of 49 ODI hundreds, but it was still a memorable day for India.
Kohli and Gill’s partnership of 189 was disrupted after the early exit of India’s captain, Rohit Sharma. Despite this setback, Shreyas Iyer stepped up with a scintillating 82 off just 56 balls, which included six towering sixes, one of which measured an astonishing 106 meters.
Iyer’s explosive innings came to an end when he was caught out off Dilshan Madushanka, the left-arm pacer who left a lasting impression by finishing with figures of 5-80, making him the leading bowler in the World Cup with 18 wickets.
Sri Lanka had opportunities to dismiss both Gill and Kohli early in their innings. Gill was on eight when a diving Charith Aslanka dropped a challenging catch at backward point following a fierce drive off Madushanka. In the next over, Kohli was given a lifeline at 10 when pacer Dushmantha Chameera couldn’t hold onto a return catch from a leading edge.
These missed chances proved costly, as Kohli went on to complete a fifty at a run-a-ball rate, featuring eight boundaries. Gill, closely following Kohli’s lead, reached his half-century in 55 balls before smashing the first six of the match with a powerful pull shot over midwicket.
However, Gill’s promising innings came to an end just shy of a century when he was caught behind by wicketkeeper and Sri Lanka’s skipper, Kusal Mendis, while attempting an uppercut off Madushanka.
The atmosphere in the stadium turned somber as Kohli chipped a Madushanka cutter to cover-point, concluding a 94-ball innings that included 11 fours.
Despite this momentary dip in momentum, Iyer displayed his explosive prowess, propelling his team to an imposing total.
India’s dominant performance not only secured their place in the semi-finals but also sent a clear message to their competitors in the tournament.