Sharma, Rahul drive India’s chase against Sri Lanka


LONDON: Dominant half-centuries from Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul put India on course to chase down their 265-run target against Sri Lanka on the final day of the World Cup group stage.

Angelo Mathews hit 113 as Sri Lanka posted 264 for seven after a top-order collapse at Headingley.

Sharma, on 81, and KL Rahul, on 81, went about the chase in clinical style, moving India onto 152-0 after 25 overs.

The in-form Sharma, who has scored four centuries in this World Cup including two in his last two games, reached his fifty with a six off Dhananjaya de Silva.

Sharma, popular known as ‘hitman’, kept up the attack on Sri Lanka’s bowlers as he topped the tournament’s batting charts after going past 600 runs.

He is only the fourth international batsman after Sachin Tendulkar (India – 2003), Mathew Hayden (Australia – 2007) and Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh – 2019) to score over 600 runs in a single edition of the World Cup.

Rahul was the more sedate of the two but an upper cut off paceman Kasun Rajitha that flew over the wicketkeeper for a boundary raised the roof from the Indian dominated crowd.

He reached his second successive fifty with a boundary off De Silva.

Earlier, Mathews hit his third ODI century 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.

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.

Victory would give India a chance of finishing above group leaders Australia, who face South Africa in the day’s other match.