World Cup 2019: India beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets

Rohit Sharma hit his fifth century of the World Cup as India eased past Sri Lanka by seven wickets in their final group game at Headingley on Saturday.

Sri Lanka scored 264 for seven in their 50 overs, with Angelo Mathews hitting 113.

But Sharma, who made 103, and KL Rahul rarely looked troubled during the chase, putting on 189 for the first wicket as India reached their target with more than six overs to spare.

Angelo Mathews hit a gritty century to lift Sri Lanka to 264 for seven after a top-order collapse against India.

Mathews made 113 and put on 124 runs for the fifth wicket with Lahiru Thirimanne to give Sri Lanka a respectable total after they were reeling on 55 for four at Headingley.

Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah removed openers Dimuth Karunaratne (10) and Kusal Perera (18) inside eight overs after Sri Lanka, who are playing for pride after missing out on the semi-finals, won the toss and elected to bat.

Bumrah returned impressive figures of 3-37 in his 10 overs as India, who are already qualified for the semi-finals, restricted Sri Lanka with some quality bowling.

Kusal Mendis was stumped off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who is playing his first match of the competition, before paceman Hardik Pandya had rising star Avishka Fernando caught behind for 20.

The right and left-handed batting combination of Mathews and Thirimanne rotated the strike and got the occasional boundary to keep the score ticking.

Thirimanne registered his 21st ODI fifty but soon fell to Yadav’s left-arm wrist spin on 53 after giving away a catch to point.

Mathews, who was dropped on 61 by Bhuvneshwar Kumar at long-on off Jadeja, went on to complete his ton — his third in ODIs — with a boundary off Pandya.

The former Sri Lanka captain finally fell to Bumrah after smashing 10 fours and two sixes during his 128-ball knock.

Dhananjaya de Silva chipped in with his unbeaten 29 after his 74-run partnership with Mathews that took Sri Lanka past the 250-run mark.

Virat Kohli’s India need 265 for a victory, which would give them a chance of finishing above defending champions Australia, who face South Africa in the day’s other match.

Team India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant, 5 MS Dhoni (wkt), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Dinesh Karthik, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Team Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 2 Kusal Perera (wkt), 3 Avishka Fernando, 4 Kusal Mendis, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Dhananjaya de Silva, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Isuru Udana, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Kasun Rajitha

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne has urged his country’s cricket chiefs to help more players enter overseas Twenty20 leagues to make up for the limitations of their domestic structure.

Sri Lanka have failed to replicate their 1996 World Cup triumph in the current tournament, with the retirements of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara leaving them short of top-class talent.

Sri Lanka, who are already out of the race to reach the semi-finals, take on India in their final group game at Headingley on Saturday.

And Karunaratne said exposing Sri Lankan talent to international tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Australia’s Big Bash is the best way to broaden their limited-overs experience.

“In Sri Lanka we have one domestic season. The players have only one chance to showcase their talent in a particular domestic season and we can identify players only that season,” Karunaratne told reporters on Friday.

“We have to close that gap (between domestic and international cricket). We have to give a chance to the players to play in IPL, Big Bash or county cricket.

“We have to give them permission to play in overseas tournament to gain experience and come back. Those are the things I’m expecting from the cricket board after this World Cup.”

Sri Lanka’s veteran paceman Lasith Malinga has been part T20 leagues across the globe, recently winning the IPL title with Mumbai Indians.

Karunaratne’s team revived their flagging World Cup campaign by upsetting hosts England, but they soon suffered a loss to South Africa that shattered their last four hopes.

Karunaratne though has still taken out positives from the campaign as he singled out Avishka Fernando as a future star.

“Avishka Fernando is doing really good. In the last three games, he showed that he can produce some runs for Sri Lanka and he is one of the future stars,” he said.

“If you take the bowling line-up they did really well, especially (Lasith) Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep. Those are the positive points from this World Cup.”

Fernando, 21, hit his maiden international century in the team’s third win of the tournament against the West Indies on Monday, but that was not enough to make the semi-final cut.

Karunaratne, who was appointed captain just ahead of the World Cup after being out of the ODI side since the 2015 edition, said the country’s cricket bosses are keen to start building a squad for the 2023 tournament.

“After 2015 we started to build the World Cup side but unfortunately the players who came in couldn’t perform. We had to change a lot of players,” he said.

“After this World Cup we are trying to have a special plan and identify the players who can give a good performance. We are trying to make a solid 15 players for the next World Cup.”

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