Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli hit half-centuries to lift India to an eight-wicket win against Sri Lanka and into the final of cricket’s Champions Trophy against tournament host England.
Chasing 182 for the victory in yesterday’s semifinal in Cardiff, Wales, India only lost its opening batsmen in reaching the target with 15 of its 50 overs to spare. Dhawan hit 68 off 92 balls to take his tally to a tournament-leading 332 runs and Kohli added an unbeaten 58 off 64 deliveries. Sri Lanka was restricted to 181-8 at Sophia Gardens after being put in to bat.
“The bowlers started it off really well,” India captain MS Dhoni said in televised comments. “It was a good toss to win.”
India, the world champion in cricket’s 50-overs-per-side format, will face England for the title in three days at Edgbaston in Birmingham. England has never won a 50-over global competition.
India reduced Sri Lanka to 41-3 after Dhoni chose to field in the rain-delayed second semifinal of the eight-team International Cricket Council event. Sri Lankan opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan also retired with a calf injury in the fifth over.
Captain Angelo Mathews top scored with 51 and Mahela Jayawardene added 38 as Sri Lanka fought back, though India’s spin bowlers extracted turn from the pitch to keep the total under 200. Dilshan returned at the end of the innings and finished 18 not out. Ishant Sharma took 3-33 and Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 3-48 to lead India’s bowlers.
“The batters were finding it really hard to find momentum,” Mathews said. “We didn’t play well. The credit should go to the India bowlers, they played really well.”