Chasing 153, India recovered from a shaky 85 for 4 in 10 overs to register a 6-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a rain reduced 19 over match of the Hero Nidahas Trophy T20 Triangular at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Monday. India reached the target off 17.3 overs. Sri Lanka, put into bat, totaled 152 for 8.
Manish Pandey struck an unbeaten 42 off 31 balls (3×4, 1×6) and Dinesh Karthik 39 off 25 (5×4) sharing in an unbeaten fifth wicket alliance of 68 runs off 46 balls.
Sri Lanka struck two swift blows taking out both India’s big guns skipper Rohit Sharma for 11 and Shikhar Dhawan for 8 in only 3.1 overs to reduce India to 22 for 2. The bogey man was Akila Dananjaya sharing the new ball claiming both prize wickets. First he sent back Sharma caught by Kusal Mendis for 11 with the total on 13 in the last ball of his first over and the second over of the innings. He came back to send back the dangerous Dhawan in the first ball of his second over caught by Thisara Perera for 8. India reached 50 for 2 after 6 overs. Sri Lanka struck back the very next over reducing India to 62 for 3 in 6.5 overs with Nuwan Pradeep sending back the big hitting Suresh Raina for 27 (15b, 2×4, 2×6) offering Thisara Perera his second catch. India were 75 for 3 after 8 overs. Sri Lanka struck again reducing India to 85 for 4 in the fifth ball of the tenth over bowled by Jeevan Mendis that of K.L. Rahul hit wicket for 18 off 17. Dananjaya claimed 2 for 19.
Sri Lanka made 151 for 8 wickets in 19 overs after being put into bat on a slow track with Kusal Mendis top scoring with 55 off 38 balls. Mendis slammed 3 boundaries and 3 sixes apiece for his third successive half century in the tournament. After an overthrow boundary from a bye, Mendis hoisted Jaydev Unadkat for six over mid-off and took a short tapped single followed by two runs as Sri Lanka moved to 12 off 4 balls followed by two runs and a single by Gunathilaka; Sri Lanka 15 for 0.He smashed the first delivery of the second over by Washington Sundar for six with the over yielding 9. The introduction of Shardul Thakur saw Gunathilaka fall for 17 (8b, 1×4) caught by Raina with the total on 25. The over yielded 10 including a boundary by Mendis after next man Kusal Janith Perera was off the mark with a single. But India struck seeing the back of Perera who was bowled for 3 by Washington Sundar attempting a reverse sweep with the total on 34 in 3.1 overs. After 5 overs the total was 46 with Mendis having greeted the reintroduction of Chahal with a boundary and moving on to 27 off 16 with 3 boundaries and a six.
The non-striker was Upul Tharanga on 2. Sri Lanka was on 53 for 2 at the end of the power play sixth over. Tharanga launched into the attack on driving Chahal for six to take the total to 65 for 2 in 7.2 overs. The over was a productive one for Sri Lanka with Mendis too pounding Chahal for six on the leg side. At the end of the eighth over Sri Lanka was on 75 for 2 with Mendis on 39 off 24 balls inclusive of 3 boundaries and 2 sixes. Tharanga was on 12 off 13 (1×6). The ninth over by Vijay Shankar fetched 11 including an on driven four by Tharanga as the partnership realized 51 off 6 overs; Sri Lanka 86 for 2. Mendis was on 47 off 27 and Tharanga 19 off 17. Unadkat tied up the batsmen in the tenth over before Mendis unleashed a beauty off an off drive for six to reach 48 off 29 hitting 3 boundaries and 3 sixes. After ten overs Sri Lanka was on 94 for 2 with Tharanga on 22 off 21 (1×4, 1×6). But four balls later Shankar sent back Tharanga who was bowled attempting a straight drive with the total on 96 for 3 in 10.4 overs. It brought the Lankan skipper Thisara Perera who struck consecutive sixes to take Sri Lanka past the hundred mark; 108 for 3 after 11 overs. Mendis reached his 50 off 31 balls with a swipe for a single in the twelfth over but Perera lost his wicket to Thahar making it 113 for 4. He made 15 off 6. Jeevan Mendis joined Kusal Mendis with the over yielding 4 and the total 117 for 4 after 13 overs. But Jeevan Mendis lasted only 3 balls bowled by Washington Sundar for 1 to make it 118 for 5. After 14 overs Sri Lanka was 120 for 5 with Kusal Mendis on 55 off 37. But one ball later he fell caught Sharma bowled Chahal without adding to his score; after 15 overs 123 for 6 and after 16 it was 129 for 6.
Akila Dananjaya palmed a single as Dasun Shanaka took a boundary and a single off Thakur to move to 11 off 12 and the total 136 after 17. Shanaka dealt a six off Unadkat’s third delivery of the 18th over to reach 19 off 15 (1×4, 1×6) taking the total to 146 for 6 at the end of that over. Dananjaya exited first ball of the 19th over caught by Rahul off Unadkat for 5; 146/7. Suranga Lakmal struck the first delivery he faced for four to up the Lankan 150 off 19.1. Two balls later Dasun Shanaka was caught by Karthik attempting a big hit off Thakur and next man Dushmantha Chameera was out very next ball caught by Unadkat. But Lakmal took a single next ball to deny Thakur a hat-trick as Sri Lanka finished on 152 for 8 in 19 overs. He was unbeaten on 5 with Nuwan Pradeep on naught. Thakur claimed 4 for 34.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-