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India today exhibited their batting prowess to perfection with their top order firing in unison to score an easy 6-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their must-win Asia Cup Super Four match here and set up a summit clash against the same opponents on Sunday.
India chased down the target of 309 with 19 balls to spare and after losing four wickets, thanks to a half century each by Gautam Gambhir (68), captain M S Dhoni (67) and Suresh Raina (54) and a valuable 42 from Virender Sehwag after Sri Lanka, electing to bat, had made 308 for 8.
Yuvraj Singh (36 not out) and Rohit Sharma (22 not out) romped home with an unfinished 57-run stand for the 5th wicket.
Today's result extinguished Pakistan's any hopes of making it to the final and rendered tomorrow's last Super Four match between the hosts and Bangladesh here inconsequential.India made a blazing start with the opening duo of Sehwag and Gambhir carrying their solid batting form from their match against Pakistan yesterday, putting on 92 runs from 70 balls.
The duo drove, pulled and cut the Lankan opening bowlers without taking much risks, hitting boundaries in regular intervals and keeping the asking rate always lower than the required rate of 6.18 per over.
Sehwag played second fiddle to his junior partner but did not shy away from hitting odd balls for boundaries including a huge six off Nuwan Kulasekara early in the innings.The 'Nawab of Najafgarh' fell to a soft dismissal in 12th over being deceived by a Kulasekara slow ball holing out to Dilhara Fernando at fine leg after scoring 42 off 34 balls, studded with six fours and a six.
Gambhir raised his 11th ODI fifty by hitting a four off Thilan Thushara after facing 45 balls in the 15th over with the help of nine fours. Gambhir, however, failed to read a Muttiah Muralitharan 'doosra' and fell LBW in the 21st over at team total of 135 for 2 for a well-made 68 compiled with the help of 11 fours from 61 balls, to allow Sri Lanka come back into the match.
Suresh Raina, who got a life when he was on 11 when Lankan 12th man Jehan Mubarak failing to hold on to an easy chance, made the most of the reprieve to hit his fifth ODI fifty and did the consolidation work along with his captain Dhoni, who also struck his 22nd ODI half century.Run rate dipped a bit after the return of the opening pair to the hut but Dhoni, who promoted himself up the order, and Raina survived the middle overs while keeping the scoreboard ticking.
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