Must-win situation for both India and Sri Lanka

February 25th, 2008 - 10:00 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
(Preview)

Hobart (Australia), Feb 25 (IANS) India will have no option but to beat Sri Lanka in their final league match to make the finals of the Commonwealth Bank Triangular One-Day Series here Tuesday. India have 12 points from seven matches while Sri Lanka are languishing at the third spot with six from six. Australia have already qualified for the best-of-three finals next month.

If India beat Sri Lanka in the Tasmanian capital their points tally will shoot up to either 16, or 17 - depending on whether they manage a bonus point. An Indian win will also shut out Sri Lanka, leaving their last encounter against Australia only of academic interest.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and India tried hard but lost to Australia by 18 runs in the previous encounter Sunday. It was after a long while that the Indian bowlers flopped and conceded over 300 runs for the first time in the tournament.

The batsmen, led by in-form Gautam Gambhir, tried valiantly to chase the tough target but faltered in the end. It once again highlighted the need for the top four — Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma - to come good.

Apart from Gambhir’s golden streak, Robin Uthappa’s half-century was the high point of the game.

Gambhir is currently heading the tournament aggregate list with 359 runs at 59.83. In sublime touch, the left-hander from Delhi has cracked two centuries.

Dhoni is second with 296 at 74.00 and he has scored two half-centuries.

Pace sensation Ishant Sharma is the leading Indian wicket taker with nine scalps. Australian left-arm speedster Nathan Bracken heads the heap with 14 wickets.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be as keen to win as India - a scenario that has effectively made Tuesday’s match a virtual semi-final ahead of the finals, to be played March 2, 4 and 7.

Like India, Mahela Jayawardene’s side also has no option but to win and stay afloat in a tournament in which they have not done well at all.

If Sri Lanka crash out Tuesday, they would also rue their abandoned match against India at the start of the series.

Teams:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara (wicket-keeper), Ishara Amerasinghe, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilruwan Perera, Chamara Silva, Upul Tharanga, Chaminda Vaas and Chanaka Welegedara

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