By Brian Thomas
The high riding Indians were kept in check yesterday, when Sri Lanka after their test series defeat came up with a sterling performance at Nagpur.
T20 draws crowds all round the world. Nagpur was electrifying with all tickets sold out. India,one of the strongest batting line up’s in the world are past masters in this version. They were crowned as worlds champions in the inaugural T20 world cup and further the IPL has brought about a new dimension to this version of the game in India.
India brought in their specialist T20 players such Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma and debutant Ashok Dinda. The top order with Shewag, Gambir, Dhoni, Yuvraj looks an awesome batting line up that could chase any big score.
Sri Lanka did the right thing by getting fresh legs into the park. Dilhara Fernando, Lasith Malinga, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Chinthaka Jayasinghe and Chamara Kapugedera were a breath of fresh air from a Sri Lankan perspective.
Winning the toss the Indian Captain thought it right to invite the visitors into bat on a belter of a pitch. Dhoni justified his decision to put the opposition in due to the dew factor.
Sri Lanka openers Dilshan and Jayasuriya started off tentatively with the ball skidding onto the bat. Sharma and Nehera bowled exceptionally well with the new ball.
Sri Lanka were very ordinary during the power play, however a missed chance off the bat of Jayasuriya by Yuvraj Sing at backward of point got the south paw cracking. Jayasuriya scored 22 runs off an Ashis Nehera over before sangakara and Dilshan tore into the Indian attack.
It was raining boundaries. Sangagkara was on song. He pulverized the Indian bowling by scoring eleven boundaries and 2 sixes in his 37 ball 78. Pragan Ojaha was put for plenty by the Sri Lankan skipper who executed fascinating cricketing strokes. Dilshan was dismissed for but sangakara found support from Kapugedara who blasted 47 in 20 balls with seven boundaries and one six and at the tail end Angelo Mathews 15 runs in just 5 balls with two towering sixes.
Sri Lanka got up to 215 in 20 overs for 5 wickets. Even a strong Indian batting line up will find it hard chasing 216 for victory batting second at the belter in Nagpur. Shewag and Gambir as expected went after the Sri Lankan attack.
India was well on course scoring 76 runs in their allotted six over power play. Shewag smashed 22 in 14 balls, while Gambir kept India’s hopes, high with his 26 ball 55. Gambir was bowled round his legs by Angelo Mathews but the left hander looked very threatening. India lost their way after the dismissal of Gambir.
Jayasuriya and Mathews turned it around for the visitors by bowling to a set field and sticking to a definite game plan. Sri Lanka’s ground fielding and catching was far beyond compare in comparison to the home team who dropped five sitters and looked very slippery in their ground fielding.
Thank God for no major umpire errors, the Indian umpires were a breath of fresh air in comparison to the gentleman at Mumbai.
Well played Sri Lanka. Mohali will host the next game on Saturday the 12th.
Sri Lanka 215 for 5 Wickets in 20 overs
Kumar Sangagkara 78 (37) balls
Charmara Kapudedera 47 (20) balls
Ashok Dinda 1 for 34 in 3 overs
RG Sharma 1 for 22 in 3 overs
Yusuf Pathan 1 for 54 in 4 overs
Ashish Nehera 1 for 52 in 4 overs.
India 186 for 9 Wickets in 20 overs
Gautham Gambir 55 (26) balls
Virendra Shewag 22 (14) balls
Sanath Jayasuriya 2 for 19 in 4 overs
Angelo Mathews 2 for 30 in 4 overs
Nuwan Kulasekara 1 for 36 in 3 overs