It was an unbelievable and a spirited run chase made by Sri Lanka, but stumbling at the end. India had the last laugh and won the first one day international cricket match played at Rajkot in Gujarat, in a thrilling finish by a margin of three runs. India leads the ODI series 1-0.
Having won the toss, Sri Lanka elected to field. India scored a mammoth total of 414/7 when it batted first. Thanks to the man of the match Virendar Sehwag, who scored 146 runs in 102 balls with useful contributions from Sachin Tendulkar with 69 in 63 balls and the Indian captain Dhoni chipping in with 71 runs. Undaunted by the highest ever target set by India, Sri Lanka made a valiant attempt to reach the target with an onslaught of 160 runs from Dilshan, 90 runs from the captain Sangakkara and 67 from Upul Tharanga.
When Sri Lanka began its run chase, it was well ahead of India in the run rate from the beginning. Except Harbajan Singh, no other bowler made any impact on the Sri Lankan batsmen. it was he who took the vital wickets of Dilshan and Jayasuriya. Three run outs of its batsmen made the Indian team’s task much easier.
It was 49 the over. Zaheer Khan was the bowler. Besides bowling his last over tightly, he also caused the run out of a Sri Lankan batsman.
It was over No. 50. Sri Lanka was 404 for 7. it had to score 11 runs in 6 balls. Dhoni tossed the ball to Ashish Nehra. Sri Lanka lost its eighth wicket to Nehra, caught by Sachin Tendulkar in the second ball of the last over. it was the last delivery. The team had to score 5 runs from 1 ball. a last ball six would have enabled it to romp home to victory. a boundary would have leveled the score and it would have led to a tie.
One could feel the tension mounting in the whole stadium. After all Nehra was human. anything might happen. One could see that Indian captain was advising Nehra something; ‘For heaven’s sake please don’t bowl a wide or a no ball’.Sri Lankan captain sitting in the pavilion was looking very tense and nervous.
Nehra bowled the last ball. The ball was driven, but it did not reach the boundary. Sri Lanka managed to score only two runs in the last ball. India won the match by three runs At last the team that held its nerves won the match.
The match was thoroughly entertaining. as many as 825 runs had been scored on a single day. India might have scrapped through by three runs in the match. Ultimately, it was the game of Cricket that won