Defending champions India moved closer to elimination after a six-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka in their super four-stage match of the Asia Cup 2022 on Tuesday.
India skipper Rohit Sharma's 41-ball 72 went in vain, as the islanders completed a chase of 174 with a ball to spare.
India's journey to the final of the Asia Cup has now become dependent on the results of the other matches and India's remaining match. On the other hand, Sri Lanka topped the table by registering the second consecutive win.
Needing 21 in 12 balls, Sri Lanka scored 14 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, almost sealing it in their favour.
Chasing what looked like a par score at the innings break, the Sri Lankans were off to a blazing start with openers Kusal Mendis (57 off 37 balls) and Pathum Nissanka (52 off 37 balls) putting on 91 runs at a brisk rate.
The fifty was up in the sixth over with both batters regularly finding the gaps and the boundaries with consummate ease, putting tremendous pressure on the Indian bowling attack that looked clueless against the positive approach adopted by the two Lankan batters.
However, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal had other ideas as he struck twice in the 12th over to put the brakes on Sri Lanka's march.
Ravichandran Ashwin sent back Danushka Gunathilaka (1) to leave Sri Lanka in a spot of bother at 110 for three in the 14th over.
In the first ball of the next over, Sri Lanka suffered a body blow as Chahal got the big wicket of Mendis, who has trapped lbw in front of the wicket.
But Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka (33 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25 not out) remained till the end to complete the task for their team with a match-winning, fifth-wicket partnership of 64 runs.
Earlier, Rohit played a fine knock.
Rohit blazed away after India lost two early wickets, hitting five fours and four sixes during his entertaining knock. He was well supported by Suryakumar Yadav (34 off 29 balls) during a stand of 97 runs for the third wicket.
But Rohit's dismissal triggered a slide as India added 63 runs after being 110 for three in the 13th over, when the skipper got out.
Sri Lanka were off to a dream start as they removed opener KL Rahul (6) and one-down Virat Kohli (0) in quick succession, leaving defending champions India in early trouble at 13 for two in the third over.
Rohit though remained positive and kept the scoreboard moving at a healthy rate, making his intention clear when he played Chamika Karunaratne over wide mid-on for a boundary.
The Indian captain then hit Theekshana for a four over square leg, helping India score 44 runs in the six powerplay overs.
Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and Karunaratne then bowled a couple of tight overs, succeeding in containing the duo of Rohit and Suryakumar Yadav.
However, Karunaratne dismissed Rohit and the batting line-up of India struggled after that. India kept losing wickets and managed to add just 173 runs on the board which was certainly not enough for the aggressive Sri Lanka batting line-up.
(Inputs from PTI)