Kohli keeps India's hopes alive
Hobart: Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 133 from 86 balls to lead India to a seven-wicket, bonus-point victory over Sri Lanka yesterday, keeping the World Cup champions in contention in the limited-overs tri-series.
Sri Lanka batted first and totalled 320-4 in 50 overs, with Tillakaratne Dilshan scoring an unbeaten 160 and sharing a 200-run, second-wicket stand with Kumar Sangakkara, who hit 105.
Needing to score 321 within 40 overs for the must-have bonus point, India started with necessary aggression through Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar.
Sehwag flayed the attack for 30 from 15 balls before he was caught by Dilshan off Farveez Maharoof's bowling in the seventh over at 54-1.
Tendulkar stroked five boundaries and reached 39 from 30 balls before he was trapped lbw by a low full toss from Lasith Malinga in the tenth over. India slipped to 86-2 but Malinga conceded 15 runs in the over which netted Tendulkar's wicket and India maintained the pressure.
Kohli batted flawlessly in his highest score for India as he shared a 115-run, third-wicket stand with Gautam Gambhir (62) and 120 for the fourth with Suresh Raina (40 not out) to guide India to 321-3 with 80 balls to spare.
India can still advance to the best-of-three finals if Sri Lanka loses the last league match to Australia on Friday.
"To be able to chase 320 in 40 overs in a must-win game, and put that sort of a batting effort together was a great team effort," Kohli said. "This shows our character as a team.
Watch and wait
"So far it has been probably the best one-day innings I've played."
Kohli, who clubbed 16 boundaries and two sixes, said India's destiny in the tournament was in Australia's hands.
"We hope they'll win, beat Sri Lanka, and hopefully we'll qualify," he said. "We'll just have to watch and wait." Australia has already secured a place in the finals, which start on Sunday in Brisbane. Sri Lanka was ideally placed to clinch the other spot in the finals after opener Dilshan carried his bat for an unbeaten 160 at Hobart.
Dilshan reached his 11th ODI hundred from 132 balls and then lifted his run-rate, scoring his next 50 from 27 balls. He equalled his career-high ODI score of 160 with a giant six in the last over. His 165-ball knock contained 11 boundaries and three sixes.
It wasn't enough for Sri Lanka to improve on its three-match winning streak.
Total (for 4 wickets; 50 overs) 320
Fall of wickets: 1-49 (Jayawardene), 2-249 (Sangakkara), 3-279 (Perera), 4-309 (Mathews)
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 9-0-61-1 (2w), Kumar 9-0-64-1 (4w/9), Yadav 8-0-56-0, Jadeja 9-0-43-1, Ashwin 10-0-52-0, Sehwag 3-0-24-0, Raina 2-0-17-0
Did not bat: L. Thirimanne, F. Maharoof, N. Kulasekara, L. Malinga, R. Herath
Total (3 wickets for; 36.4 overs) 321
Fall of wickets: 1-54 (Sehwag), 2-86 (Tendulkar), 3-201 (Gambhir)
Bowling: Malinga 7.4-0-96-1 (2w), Kulasekara 8-0-71-0 (1w), Maharoof 3-0-21-1, Perera 7-0-59-0 (1w), Mathews 7-0-44-0, Herath 4-0-20-0 (1w)
Did not bat: M.S. Dhoni, R. Jadeja, R. Ashwin, P. Kumar, Z. Khan, U. Yadav
India won by 7 wickets
Man-of-the-match: Virat Kohli (IND).