Sri Lanka beat India by 69 runs to secure their berth in the Super Eight stage. Chasing a 255-run target, India were skittled out for 185 in 43.3 overs in the Group B match at the Queen's Oval Park in Trinidad on Friday.
Indian skipper Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to field in their must-win tie. Having won just one of the two league matches before, this defeat means India now depend on the outcome of the Bermuda-Bangladesh match on Sunday. If Bermuda win, India will make through to the next round on the basis of a superior run-rate.
Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was the Man of the Match, finishing with 3-41.
The Sri Lankans got their first breakthrough when pacer Chaminda Vaas caught and bowled opener Robin Uthappa at 18 in the seventh over. After dropping two easy catches, Muralitharan finally got lucky to dispatch Sourav Ganguly cheaply off Vaas.
Fernando took the wicket of 'dangerman' Sachin Tendulkar which brought the middle order under pressure. Just as Dravid and Sehwag looked set in the middle, Muralitharan nailed the the latter for 48. Soon, Yuvraj Singh committed harakiri by trying to take a run which was not there, and getting run out.
Swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni failed to provide any support as he was trapped leg before off Muralitharan's delivery. After the sudden middle-order collapse, India's World Cup hopes began fading while, skipper Dravid continued to fight a lone battle between survival and oust.
The next man to return was Ajit Agarkar, who gave a simple catch to Arnold at the mid-on, off Lasith Malinga's delivery. In the 37th over, Dravid hit four boundaries to complete his half-century only to fall to Sanath Jayasuriya bowling in the next over. The skipper piled 60 off 82 balls.
Sri Lanka innings
Not unlike the Lankans, India got their first breakthrough in the seventh over as Zaheer Khan removed ace batsman Jayasuriya for mere 6 runs. Following his strike, Agarkar scalped the key wicket of skipper Mahela Jayawardene (7) as Dhoni plunked leftwards to catch the ball.
Former skipper Ganguly gave his side a much-needed breakthrough in the form of key batsman Kumar Sangakkara (15). Tendulkar got the better of Upul Tharanga as he trapped the opener at 64. He remained the highest scorer of the side.
Munaf Patel broke the successful 83-run partnership between Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Silva, dismissing the former for 38. Zaheer struck in the next over to uproot Silva at 59 runs.
Wicketkeeper Dhoni proved lucky for India as he caught three important wickets of Jayawardene, Silva and Dilshan.
Though Sri Lanka, who had won both their matches against Bermuda and Bangladesh, also needed to win this tie to enter the second round with six points and a superior run-rate.
India picked Harbhajan Singh in place of ace offie Anil Kumble. While, Sri Lanka replaced Dilhara Fernando with Farvez Maharoof.
India: Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Chamara Silva, Russel Arnold, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga, Dihara Fernando.