Port of Spain, July 12: MS Dhoni has done it again. Captain Cool took India to a thrilling 1-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the last over of the Celkon Mobile Cup tri-series final here. After capturing Champions Trophy last month in England, India have added another trophy.
Dhoni, one of the best finishers in the shorter format, yet again clinched a game for India in a tense last-over finish on Thursday (July 11). Just before the start of the final over, Dhoni changed his bat and the "heavy bat" did the trick. "I went with a heavy bat, the weight was perfect for slogging," Dhoni, who won the Man-of-the-match award, said after the final.
With 15 needed off the final over bowled by Shaminda Eranga, Dhoni smashed 6, 4 and another 6 to seal the contest with 2 balls to spare in the company of last man Ishant Sharma. The first ball of the final over was a dot ball and the next three were enough for Dhoni to break Sri Lankan hearts again.
Dhoni remained unbeaten on 45 off 52 with 5 fours and 2 sixes (both hit in the final over). Ishant was lucky to survive two run out chances when the fielders missed to hit the stumps. The last wicket partnership was 21 off 3.2 overs.
Chasing a modest target of 202, India were well poised to take the Cup when Rohit Sharma (58) was batting well. But left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (4/20) struck vital blows to dent India's chances. But Dhoni made sure that India had another title in their grasp.
The six to finish the match was reminiscent of the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai against the same opponents. On April 2 then, Dhoni had won it for India with a six.
Dhoni had missed India's three matches before the final due to a hamstring injury. He recovered in time to lead the team in the title decider and showed why he needs to be there in big games for India.
Earlier, India benefited immensely after Sri Lanka's middle and lower-order batsmen committed hara-kiri, which saw the team lose eight wickets for just 30 runs before being bundled out for 201.
Sent into bat, Sri Lanka were sitting pretty at 171 for two in the 38th over, but lack of application saw them being packed off with seven balls left in their innings.
Ravindra Jadeja was the most successful Indian bowlers returning figures of 4/24 while there were two wickets apiece for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Bhuvneshwar made use of seaming conditions to send back Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene. Incidentally, the duo had punished India with a double-century partnership in the match that the young seamer was dropped.
Sri Lanka then rode on Kumar Sangakkara (71) and Lahiru Thirimanne's 122-run partnership for the third wicket to stage a fightback before their innings disintegrated largely due to some mindless batting.
Thirimanne scored 46 off 72 balls. From a comfortable position with about 12 overs to go, Sri Lanka were left licking their wounds at 193 for seven in the 46th over when skipper Angelo Mathews got out. None of the last six batsmen could reach double figures.