Yuzvendra Chahal spun a web around the Sri Lankan batsmen as India coasted home and recorded a comfortable 93-run win over the Lankans in the first T20I at Cuttack. This is India's biggest victory in T20Is and Sri Lanka's biggest loss. Chahal recorded figures of 4/23, breaking the back of Sri Lankan batting as he accounted for Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne and Dasun Shanaka.
CricketNext takes a look at the performance of all the Indian players in the opening T20I at the Barabati Stadium.
Rohit Sharma: Rating 4: Verdict: Poor
After a brilliant show in the ODI series, stand-in skipper Rohit did not really start the T20I series on expected lines. While the team registered a comprehensive win, Rohit failed to shine with the bat and managed to score just 17 runs from 13 balls. He did hit a couple of boundaries to raise the expectations of another scintillating show, but fizzled out as the double-paced wicket did not aid his freestyle approach at the crease. But he did show tactical acumen with his moves on the field. Even though dew was playing a significant factor, he rang in the right changes.
KL Rahul: Rating 9: Verdict: Very Good
With the selectors resting Shikhar Dhawan, Rahul got another opportunity at the top and he did not disappoint. It wasn’t an easy track to bat on, but Rahul took his time before going into overdrive mode. The best part was that he was ready to pick the singles after hitting a boundary and the rotation of strike caused further trouble for the Lankan bowlers. A false shot saw him finally dismissed for 61 and the opener would be ruing missing out the opportunity to score another 100 in the shortest format of the game.
Shreyas Iyer: Rating 5: Verdict: Average
After a couple of good knocks in the ODIs, Iyer failed to rise to the challenge in the opening T20I. The wicket wasn’t conducive to stroke-making and that saw the Mumbai batsman hit and miss quite a few of them. He did manage to score a 20-ball 24 with three boundaries, but he was far from impressive during his stay at the crease. Iyer definitely needs to up his game if he wishes to cement his place in the middle-order after regular skipper Virat Kohli rejoins the team.
MS Dhoni: Rating 10: Verdict: Excellent
An unbeaten 39 off 22 balls, four dismissals behind the wicket and a six to finish the Indian innings. What more can you expect from the old warhorse? Dhoni did silent the critics again with a quality knock in trying conditions. But more importantly, the quick running between the wickets showed that his fitness is still the best in the business. Coming back to his act behind the wicket, Dhoni once again showed that there is no competition in the circuit when it comes to men behind the stumps.
Manish Pandey: Rating 9: Verdict: Very Good
Pandey played perfect foil to Dhoni at the end of the Indian innings and his unbeaten 32 off 18 balls went a long way in ensuring that India picked up close to 60 runs off the last 4 overs. His running between the wickets with Dhoni also helped when the Lankan bowlers managed to bowl a tight line. With the Indian set-up looking at youngsters going into the 2019 World Cup, these knocks will definitely help him cement his place in the team. For the record, Suresh Raina has just announced that he passed the Yo-Yo Test. So, more reasons for the batsman to keep the good form going.
Hardik Pandya: Rating 9: Verdict: Very Good
Not required with the bat, Pandya came on as the opening bowler and while he did not start with a breakthrough, he was mighty effective from the word go. And then, Pandya returned in the latter stages with ball in hand to pick the last 3 Lankan wickets and clean things up in a jiffy. Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera and Vishwa Fernando were his scalps as Pandya finished the game with 4 overs to go. One can expect him to bring that confidence into the second T20I.
Jaydev Undakat: Rating 9: Verdict: Very Good
Making a comeback into the national team after a while, Unadkat did not let the dew get the better of him and started with a wicket in his very first over. And that was the all-important wicket of Niroshan Dickwella. Using the variety of slowers to peg back the Lankan batsmen, Unadkat showed how he has mastered the art of bowling successfully in the shortest format of the game. Even though he bowled just the two overs, the game ending in 16 overs meant that skipper Rohit Sharma was looking at finishing the death overs with him. This will stand him in good stead in the next two games.
Kuldeep Yadav: Rating 10: Verdict: Excellent
Bowling chinaman with dew is not the easiest thing to do, but Kuldeep showed great skills as he partnered Yuzvendra Chahal really well and finished with figures of 2/18 from his 4 overs. More than the wickets, it was the calm head he showed in trying conditions that made his performance stand out. With Chahal picking the wickets, it could have been a case of Kuldeep trying a bit too hard, but the bowler kept his calm and waited for his chance.
Yuzvendra Chahal: Rating 10: Verdict: Excellent
The writing was on the wall when the Indians came out to field under heavy dew at the Barabati Stadium, but Chahal showed how he has grown with every outing and is now clearly the spin spearhead in the shorter format of the game for India. Rohit handed him the ball and the leg-spinner delivered, finishing with figures of 4/23 from his four overs. It was only poetic justice that he was handed the Man of the Match award after putting up a brave show with conditions pitted against him.
Jasprit Bumrah: Rating 5: Verdict: Average
Coming in as the second change bowler, it was a bland day on the field for Bumrah. With the other bowlers taking responsibility, it was a one-off game where the pacer did not pick a wicket. He is generally the captain’s go-to-bowler when he needs a wicket, but on Wednesday, the other bowlers ensured that the yorker specialist could take it easy. He finished with figures of 0/10 from his 2 overs.
Dinesh Karthik: N/A
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