DHAKA - Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh had their second consecutive match-winning partnership as India chased down Sri Lanka’s total with 5 wickets in Asia Cup T20 match Tuesday.

Kohli remained unbeaten on 56 and Yuvraj scored a quickfire 35 off 18 balls as India romped home to their third straight victory in the tournament. With this win India are through to the final of Asia Cup T20. On the other hand, Sri Lanka will need a miracle to make it to the final.

The way India ended their chase it never looked like the final result was in doubt, but that was not the case at the start of the innings. Nuwan Kulasekara, who had played a few good shots to help Sri Lanka go past 130, rocked India early on. His early burst had both Indian openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, out with 16 runs on the board. He had Dhawan caught by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal for 1 off 3 balls, and then had Rohit play away from his body and edge to Chamara Kapugedara at slip for 15 off 14 balls with three boundaries.

Suresh Raina then came in and stabilised proceedings with Kohli at the other end.Kohli and Raina put on 54 in decent time. Both men did their bit to keep the runs coming. Raina was finally out getting a leading edge from Dasun Shanaka to Kulasekara. That brought in Yuvraj Singh at No. 5, whose form has been questioned for some time.

It took Yuvraj just two balls to alienate those doubts. The second ball he got was short and outside off, and Yuvraj creamed it over point for a boundary. Two balls later he sent Rangana Herath over long on for his first six of the day. The next ball was flighted on leg and Yuvraj sent it over midwicket in vintage fashion. Yuvraj was now 18 not out off 6 balls, but there was more to come. Thisara Perara was smashed over cover for Yuvraj’s third six. Dushmantha Chameera was then pulled through square leg for four. Perera was then smashed past mid-off but pulled one to Kulasekara off the next ball. His 35 came off 18 balls with 3 sixes and as many fours. Incidentally, he scored 14 not out off 32 balls in his last innings against Pakistan.

Hardik Pandya once again came in at No. 6, but was bowled for a duck. Herath bowled a fantastic delivery and beat him in the flight, but by then it was too little too late. MS Dhoni hit a customary six, while Kohli got to a well-deserved half-century at the other end. India won in the last over, but it was not nearly as close a chase as the balls remaining suggested.

Earlier, Sri Lanka’s lower order struck some hearty blows to take Sri Lanka to a defendable but disappointing score of 138 for 9 against India. Sri Lanka’s woe started early on, when Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah strangled them early. Sri Lanka’s best batsman on current form, Dinesh Chandimal, was the first wicket to fall. Chandimal tried to take on Nehra but only managed to get a bottom edge through to MS Dhoni. Shehan Jayasuriya, batting at No. 3, was then done in by a gem from Bumrah.

The ball swung late and kissed the outside edge as Dhoni took his second catch of the innings.

A mini-recovery ensued, with Tillakaratne Dilshan picking up a couple of boundaries. He went past Martin Guptill as the second-highest run-scorer in T20Is, behind only Brendon McCullum. The introduction of Hardik Pandya brought about his downfall though. Pandya started off with a short ball that Dilshan pulled straight to Ravichandran Ashwin at fine leg. Pandya had taken three international wickets off three balls, spread across two matches. Unfortunately for Pandya, it did not count as a hat-trick.

Chamara Kapugedara and Angel Mathews then added a useful 26. Mathews took on Pandya, hitting the bowler for two boundaries in an over before Pandya got him to inside edge one back onto the stumps for 18 off 19 balls. Milinda Siriwardana came in next and put on an important 43 with Kapugedara. However, from 100 for 4 Sri Lanka fell to 105 for 7. Siriwardana hit Ashwin to Suresh Raina, Dasun Shanaka was run out off a free hit, and Kapugedara hit Bumrah straight to Pandya in the deep.

The Sri Lankan lower order then came to the fore and gave the bowlers something to defend. Perera slogged 17 off 6 balls with 2 fours and a six, and Kulasekara scored 13 off 9 balls to help Sri Lanka set India a target just short of 140. Earlier at the toss, India made the expected change of bringing Shikhar Dhawan in to replace Ajinkya Rahane. Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl first. Sri Lanka made no changes to their side despite losing their last match to Bangladesh. Lasith Malinga’s injury continued to keep him out of action, as Angelo Mathews continued to lead Sri Lanka.

Scoreboard

SRI LANKA:

L Chandimal c Dhoni b Nehra 4

T Dilshan c Ashwin b Pandya 18

S Jayasuriya c Dhoni b Bumrah 3

C Kapugedera c Pandya b Bumrah 30

A Mathews b Pandya 18

M Siriwardana c Raina b Ashwin 22

D Shanaka run out 1

T Perera st Dhoni b Ashwin 17

N Kulasekara run out 13

D Chameera not out 2

EXTRAS: (lb 5, w 4, nb 1) 10

TOTAL: (9 wickets; 20 overs; 92 mins) 138

FOW: 1-6, 2-15, 3-31, 4-57, 5-100, 6-104, 7-105, 8-125, 9-138

BOWLING: A Nehra 4-0-23-1, JJ Bumrah 4-0-27-2, HH Pandya 4-0-26-2, Yuvraj Singh 1-0-3-0, RA Jadeja 2-0-19-0, R Ashwin 4-0-26-2, SK Raina 1-0-9-0

INDIA:

S Dhawan c Chandimal b Kulasekara 1

R Sharma c Kapugedera b Kulasekara 15

V Kohli not out 56

S Raina c Kulasekara b Shanaka 25

Yuvraj Singh c Kulasekara b Perera 35

HH Pandya b Herath 2

MS Dhoni not out 7

EXTRAS: (w 1) 1

TOTAL: (5 wckts; 19.2 overs) 142

FOW: 1-11, 2-16, 3-70, 4-121, 5-125

BOWLING: A Mathews 3-0-16-0, N Kulasekara 3-0-21-2, T Perera 4-0-32-1, D Chameera 4-0-27-0, R Herath 3.2-0-26-1, D Shanaka 1-0-7-1, T Siriwardana 1-0-13-0

TOSS: India

UMPIRES: Anisur Rahman, Shozab Raza

TV UMPIRE: Sharfuddoula

MATCH REFEREE: JJ Crowe

RESERVE UMPIRE: Enamul Haque