Middle order batsman Himmat Singh’s unbeaten century guided India Emerging team to a 4-wicket win over Sri Lanka Emerging team in their final group game of the Emerging Teams Asia Cup on Monday at R. Premadasa International Stadium.
With both teams already qualified for the semi-finals, the top spot in group A was up for grabs on a scorching hot day.
Singh carried his team single-handedly with a fine 126 which came in 140 deliveries as India chased down Sri Lanka’s score of 260 with more than 2 overs remaining.
Sri Lankan fast-bowler Asitha Fernando removed Indian opening batsman Atharwa Taide in the very first ball to send jitters into the Indian dressing room.
Despite losing Taide and one-drop batsman Nitish Rana early to the bowling of Fernando, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Singh built up a solid 148-run stand for the third wicket to deny Sri Lanka.
Both Gaikwad and Singh, batted with utmost confidence to keep the scoreboard ticking by accumulating runs at a healthy rate. Gaikwad made 67 off 73 deliveries with 5 fours and 1 six before being stumped off left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya.
Ambidextrous spinner Kamindu Mendis picked up three Indian wickets for Sri Lanka. But, 22-year old Singh gave away nothing to guide India and hit the winning runs.
Earlier, former Sebastanite, Avishka Fernando, who opened in the previous matches, came in at number three and struck a fine 80 in 106 balls to set up the Lankan innings. He hit his second half-century in the tournament and in doing so, slammed 6 fours and 1 six.
Shehan Jayasuriya made a vital contribution of 38 off 42 balls but Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals. They negotiated the Indian spinners well. But, gave away wickets to the pace of Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna, who shared five wickets amongst them.
Experienced Asela Gunaratne returned to form by playing a wonderful knock of 67 to provide the much-needed late blitz to the Lankan innings.
The two semi-finals will be played on Thursday (13th December) as Sri Lanka will play Pakistan at R. Premadasa Stadium, while India will battle it out against Bangladesh at CCC Grounds.
India won by 4 wickets
Sri Lanka’s Innings
|Sandun Weerakkody||lbw by J Yadav||22||21|
|Hasitha Boyagoda||c J Yadav b P Krishna||6||14|
|Avishka Fernando||c J Yadav b S Mavi||80||106|
|Shehan Jayasuriya||b P Krishna||38||42|
|Kamindu Mendis||lbw by S Mulani||12||22|
|Asela Gunarathne||not out||67||64|
|Shammu Ashan||c P Singh b S Mavi||0||6|
|Chamika Karunarathne||c R Gaikwad b S Mavi||8||22|
|Shehan Madushanka||not out||12||6|
|Atharwa Taide||lbw by A Fernando||0||1|
|Ruturaj Gaikwad||st S Weerakkody b L Ambuldeniya||67||73|
|Nitish Rana||c S Madushanka b A Fernando||13||18|
|Himmat Singh||not out||126||140|
|Deepak Hooda||c A Fernando b K Mendis||26||24|
|Prabhsimran Singh||c A Fernando b K Mendis||3||6|
|Jayant Yadav||c S Weerakkody b K Mendis||9||11|
|Shams Mulani||not out||11||13|