Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Virat Kohli hit an unbeaten 133 as India defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets yesterday to keep alive its chances of reaching the one-day cricket finals against series host Australia.
Needing 321 runs to win in Hobart after Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara hit hundreds for Sri Lanka, Kohli smashed 16 fours and two sixes in his 86-ball innings as India chased the target down in 36.4 overs. India claimed a bonus point to join Sri Lanka on 15 points in the standings.
If Australia, which has 19 points, defeats Sri Lanka in the last round-robin game on March 2, India will play the home team in the best-of-three finals, which start two days later.
“To be able to chase 320 in 40 overs in a must-win game and put that sort of batting effort together was a great team effort,” Kohli said at the presentation ceremony after being named man of the match. “We will be rooting for Australia on Friday.”
Kohli combined with Suresh Raina (40 not out) for 120 runs and Gautam Gambhir (63) for 115.
Gambhir was run out for 63, leaving India on 201-3 in the 27th over. Kohli and Raina then put up 120 runs from just 55 balls, a run rate of 13.09 an over. Kohli got his ninth one-day century to become the first Indian to score a hundred in the series. He plundered 24 runs in the 25th over, hitting four boundaries and a six off of Lasith Malinga.
Opening batsmen Virender Sehwag scored 30 and Sachin Tendulkar hit 39 before being trapped leg-before-wicket by Malinga, who finished 1-96.
“This was some of the best ODI cricket I’ve been part of,” India captain MS Dhoni said. “We knew we had the firepower but still, 320 was more than we could digest. Once we got that start, we knew we could kick on.”
Dilshan earlier top scored for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 160, sharing in a team-record 200-run partnership for the second wicket with Sangakkara, who struck 105 off 87 balls.
Indian selectors will meet today to pick a squad for the four-nation Asia Cup one-day tournament starting March 11 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
--Editor: Christopher Elser
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