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ICC Champions Trophy: ‘Sri Lanka loss wake-up call for India’, former players react

Sri Lanka cricket team pulled off a seven wicket victory over defending champion Indian cricket team to throw Group B wide open with all four teams having a chance to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semifinal stage

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 09, 2017 16:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,Indian cricket team
The Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team, which lost to an inspired Sri Lanka cricket team in the ICC Champions Trophy match at the Oval on Thursday, will have to quickly bounce back and win their final group match against South Africa cricket which has become a virtual quarterfinal clash. (AFP)

Sri Lanka created history on Thursday as they chased down a mammoth 322-run target set by India to register the most successful run-chase in Champions Trophy since its inception, besides throwing the Group B wide open. All four sides are now tied on two points each with a game in hand.

At the end of the match, skipper Angelo Matthews hailed his team’s effort and said that he knew no one had thought they would be able to pull off a victory over the defending champions. “It doesn’t matter if the opposition respects you or not,” Matthews told at the post-match press conference. “We just knew underneath that we had the talent to back ourselves and had the opportunity to beat a fantastic team.”

Sri Lanka had lost their first game against South Africa and a loss on Thursday would have virtually ended all their hopes of qualifying for the semifinal stages. However, Danushka Gunathilaka (76 off 72 balls) and Kusal Mendis (89 off 93 balls) put up a brilliant fight before Matthews (52*) and Asela Gunaratne (34*) steered the side home.

The fantastic display from the Islanders impressed former England skipper Michael Vaughan as well. Hailing the effort, Vaughan tweeted: “I think you would have got the same odds for a Pakistan /Sri Lanka double this last 2 days as you would have got for Trump & Brexit ... !!” Earlier, Pakistan had beaten South Africa via Duckworth-Lewis method on Wednesday after rain played spoilsport.

India will now take on South Africa in the last group game on Sunday in a knock-off tie. Former India spinner Bishen Singh Bedi, too, lauded Sri Lanka’s effort and said that there could be no excuses and that the loss was a wake-up call for the defending champions.

The victory impressed former Sri Lankan middle-order batsman Russell Arnold as well, who took to the micro-blogging website to laud his side. Admitting that the odds were stacked against them, Arnold wrote: “What a Chase... what a win ... @OfficialSLC #CT17 Well done fellows !!! Incredible stuff... against all odds showed a lot of character!!!👏👏👏”

Kumar Sangakkara, who Matthews said was an inspiration behind the historic victory, also congratulated the players. The former cricketer-turned-commentator had apparently visited the players at the nets and spoke to them before the match against India. Matthews even admitted that Kusal Mendis had received some valuable batting tips from the Sri Lanka great.

First Published: Jun 09, 2017 14:04 IST