Like biting into a bun-maska dunked in Irani tea in those old Parsi restaurants in this teeming metropolis, India revealed a similar ease as it tucked into a hapless Sri Lanka here on Thursday.
The Men in Blue’s seventh triumph in this World Cup was mounted upon muscular batting and relentless fast bowling and the fans at the Wankhede Stadium relished every second of a lop-sided contest that sealed the host’s semifinal berth.
Having posted 357 for eight, Rohit Sharma’s men bundled out Sri Lanka for 55 in 19.4 overs and won by 302 runs. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj dismissed Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne respectively when the batters were yet to open their accounts. If the openers were trapped right in front with ruffled pads, Sadeera Samarawickrama edged Siraj and skipper Kusal Mendis found the Hyderabadi dismantling his citadel.
With four batters in the hut and just three on the board, there was no respite as Mohammed Shami bustled in. He missed a hat-trick but inflicted enough damage as Sri Lanka hobbled at 14 for six in 10 overs, and once Shami (five for 18) castled Angelo Mathews, the visitors were down for the count.
In the afternoon while a sea of blue slithered in from Marine Drive and Churchgate station, Mendis won the toss and elected to field. His counterpart Rohit flicked the first ball for four but an unfazed left-arm speedster Dilshan Madushanka thudded the next ball into the stumps while the opener played inside the line.
The initial worries were allayed by Virat Kohli. He redirected Madushanka towards fine-leg and Shubman Gill pulled the seamer as a partnership began to take shape. There were some close shaves too as Charith Asalanka dropped Gill on eight and Dushmantha Chameera failed to latch onto a caught and bowled chance off Kohli when the latter was on 10. They were difficult catches but matches turn on such slender threads.
Peach of a shot
Soon Kohli essayed his drives but the peach was a straight-driven four off Kasun Rajitha. Gill, the stylish apprentice to the master at the other end, cut and flicked. He switched to turbo-mode, hoisting sixes off Chameera and Dushan Hemantha. However, the 189-run second-wicket partnership concluded when Gill (92, 92b, 11x4, 2x6) lobbed Madushanka into the gloves of Mendis.
Just like Gill, Kohli (88, 94b, 11x4) too fell against the run of play, popping up a catch off Madushanka. The much-anticipated record-equalling 49th ODI ton proved elusive while the original maestro Sachin Tendulkar watched from the stands. The next duo of Shreyas Iyer and K.L. Rahul scored briskly with the former hoisting sixes for fun. But another soft dismissal emanated when Rahul picked the fielder at short-cover.
Suryakumar Yadav too did not last long but Shreyas cruised. A pulled six off Madushanka (five for 80), followed by one straight down the ground showed the Mumbaikar in all his glory before he (82, 56b, 3x4, 6x6) holed out as another imminent century became a mirage. India by then had enough to leave the visitors deflated.