Tuesday’s Asia Cup loss against Sri Lanka by six wickets inflicted a severe blow to India. Two days prior, Pakistan had defeated them in the opening match of the Super 4 round. India’s skipper Rohit Sharma’s brilliant 41-ball 72 in the match against Sri Lanka was in vain as the islanders successfully chased down 174 runs with one ball remaining. Sri Lanka scored 14 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, nearly winning it for them when they needed 21 runs in 12 balls. No other batsman could score save for Suryakumar Yadav (34) and Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli, the former captain of India, was out for a duck, and the previous captain of Pakistan was unimpressed with his performance.
“I was surprised to see Virat Kohli bat. I was surprised and dejected too, because a top player, who seemed like breaking all batting records, looked under pressure. He played four dot balls and he looked tense. When senior players look tensed, like Rohit Sharma’s reaction when KL Rahul got out as he rarely shows emotions, it sends a message to the dressing room that you are under intense pressure,” Inzamam noted in a video shared on his YouTube channel. “The junior players are under pressure. I was surprised to see it. Seniors may feel pressure from the inside, but they don’t show pressure with their body language. The same message goes to the opposition also. But If you show that you are under pressure then it sends a wrong message to one’s own team and the opposition team. Your team goes down and the opposition goes up.”
The Sri Lankans got off to a fast start in the game, putting on 91 runs at a quick clip as openers Kusal Mendis (57 off 37 balls) and Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37 balls), were chasing a 174-run target. The fifty was reached in the sixth over thanks to both batsmen’ consistent and effortless hitting of the gaps and boundaries, which put a lot of pressure on the Indian bowling attack, which struggled to adjust to the two Lankan hitters’ optimistic batting style. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who struck twice in the 12th over to halt Sri Lanka’s advance, had other ideas. Danushka Gunathilaka (1) was returned by Ravichandran Ashwin, leaving Sri Lanka in trouble at 110 for three in the 14th over. When Mendis was caught lbw in front of the wicket with the first delivery of the following over, Chahal took a major scalp for Sri Lanka. However, Sri Lanka’s captain Dasun Shanaka (33 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25 not out) persevered until the end, winning the match with a 64-run fifth-wicket stand.