On Tuesday, Sri Lanka put on an amazing run chase to defeat India by six wickets, sending their opponents home early from the Asia Cup.
If Pakistan defeats Afghanistan on Wednesday, they will go up against Sri Lanka in the championship game on Sunday, eliminating India in the process.
Pathum Nissanka (52) and Kusal Mendis (57), Sri Lanka’s openers, both scored half-centuries to set the team up for success in their pursuit of 174 in the Super Four match.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa and skipper Dasun Shanaka helped Sri Lanka get across the finish line, and two scrambling byes off the penultimate ball sealed the victory. India fought back with a flurry of wickets.
The dreams of the tournament favourites, India, who also lost their Super Four opener to Pakistan, are now hanging by a thread. Rajapaksa, who hit 25 runs without being out, and Shanaka, who struck 33 runs without being out, put on an unbroken stand of 64 runs.
Rohit Sharma’s team will still need to defeat the Afghans on Thursday to have any hope of making it to the final, even if Afghanistan helps India against Pakistan.
Nissanka made a cautious start before hammering Arshdeep Singh for two fours and a six in a fifth over that resulted in an 18-run total.
Mendis joined in the fun and cleared the fence three times, including against Ravichandran Ashwin with a spectacular shot over wide long-off.
Nissanka completed his fifty in 33 balls, but Yuzvendra Chahal, an Indian leg-spinner, ended the stand by striking twice in one over.
Mendis also reached fifty, but Ashwin’s single cost Sri Lanka Danushka Gunathilaka.
At 110-4 from 14 overs, Sri Lanka was in trouble after Chahal caught Mendis lbw.
But some brilliant batting by Rajapaksa and Shanaka saw them climb out of that hole, requiring just seven runs from the penultimate over.
When Shanaka played and missed outside off stump with two needed from the next two balls, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and bowler Arshdeep both failed in their run-out efforts, and the game was decided on an overthrow.