India eased past Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy semifinals. The victory sets up a match with host nation England in the tournament's championship match.
For the second straight match, Sri Lanka went to bat first and struggled. The Lions were able to overcome a lackluster performance from the batsmen against Australia to earn a semifinal berth. They weren't as fortunate this time around.
Sri Lanka lost its first wicket during the third over. Not only was it an early setback for the Group A runners-up, but it was a sign of things to come as the Lions couldn't put together any scoring streaks against the reliable India bowlers.
Perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise, though. The Indian bowlers have been tremendous throughout the tournament, which is one of the main reasons the Men in Blue went undefeated during the group stage. The semifinal pressure didn't have an impact on them.
Another factor was the pitch. The damp conditions gave the advantage to the bowlers. That wasn't good news for Sri Lanka, given the team's problems early in the last match.
Just like against Australia, The Lions did fight back after a slow start. Angelo Mathews led the way with 51 runs while Mahela Jayawardene added 38 and Jeevan Mendis chipped in 25 to help pace the resurgence to put some pressure on the Indian batsmen.
Ultimately, Sri Lanka finished with 181 runs. While it wasn't an ideal score, the conditions at least made it more acceptable. The bowlers knew a strong showing would still be enough to earn a berth in the final.
They weren't able to stop a red-hot Indian side, though. The Men in Blue had 77 runs on the board before they lost their first wicket, leaving Sri Lanka little hope beyond an extraordinary bowling performance the rest of the way.
It didn't happen. The trio of Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma all had plenty of success, combining for more than a dozen fours and a couple sixes to push India over the top without needing its full complement of overs.
After 35 overs, the Men in Blue had already surpassed Sri Lanka's total courtesy of a run rate north of five—another dominant showing by the unbeaten side. It was enough to score the eight-wicket victory and push India through to the final.
It will face England for the tournament title. The host nation's only loss during the group stage came against Sri Lanka, which bodes well for India's chances. But it should be a terrific match for the title, regardless of the outcome.
The ICC Champions Trophy final is scheduled for Sunday. India seeks its second title after splitting the top spot with Sri Lanka in 2002. England hopes to land its first title, previously finishing no better than second (2004).
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