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Only T20I: Kohli, Spinners Star as India Crush Sri Lanka by Seven Wickets

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: September 7, 2017, 10:17 AM IST
Only T20I: Kohli, Spinners Star as India Crush Sri Lanka by Seven Wickets

Members of Indian cricket team pose for photographers with the winners' trophy after winning their only Twenty20 cricket match against Sri Lanka in Colombo. (AP Images)

Colombo: Virat Kohli smashed a scintillating 82 while spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav put breaks on the opposition during the Sri Lankan innings as India crushed the hosts by seven wickets in the only T20I at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Wednesday.

With this win, the Men in Blue blanked Sri Lanka 9-0 on the tour — 3-0 in Tests, 5-0 in ODIs and 1-0 in T20I. No touring team has even dominated the any team in history of the game.

Chasing a challenging target of 171, India didn't have the best of starts as opener Rohit Sharma was sent packing by him Mumbai Indians teammate Lasith Malinga for just 9 runs.

KL Rahul then steadied the ship with skipper Virat Kohli and the duo hit few boundaries to put the pressure back on the hosts. But KL Rahul was then dismissed by Prasanna after Shanaka plucked a stunning diving catch while fielding at the covers.

But from there on, it became all about India as Kohli and Manish Pandey put on a solid partnership to take the game away from Sri Lanka. The duo kept hitting boundaries for fun but it was their running between the wickets that was just brilliant to watch.

Kohli notched up yet another half-century in the chase set multiple milestones in the process. Kohli surpassed Brendon McCullum to take the top spot in the list of most runs scored in T20Is in a chase.

While the India skipper also overtook the likes of Ahmed Shahzad and Martin Guptill to now become the third highest run-scorer in the shortest format of the game.

The 119-run partnership between Kohli and Pandey finally came to an end in the penultimate over, when Kohli was caught out in the deep off the bowling of Udana for 82. But he had done his job by then as Manish Pandey hit the winning runs and also completed his maiden fifty in the process, with four balls to go.

India also matches it's own feat of chasing down the highest score at this venue. India chased down 174/7 against Sri Lanka at this same venue in 2009 as well.

Earlier, batting first, Dilshan Munaweera smashed his maiden half-century while debutant Ashan Priyanjan played a useful hand to guide Sri Lanka to a respectable 170 for seven. Playing his 10th T20 match, Munaweera scored a quick-fire 53 off 29 balls with the help of five boundaries and as many as four hits over the fence to keep up Sri Lanka's momentum at the R Premadasa Stadium here.

He was ably supported by Priyanjan, who scored a run-a- ball unbeaten 40 during which he hit one boundary and two sixes to take Sri Lanka to the fighting total. For India, young leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 43 from his four overs, while chinaman Kuldeep Yadav scalped two for 20.

Put into bat, Sri Lanka made a hectic start with Niroshan Dickwella (17) attacking Jasprit Bumrah (1/38) at the start. It forced India skipper Virat Kohli to introduce spin early into the powerplay in the form of Chahal.

Skipper Upul Tharanga (5) played on a Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/36) delivery in the third over. Munaweera then went into an attacking mode as he carted Chahal for two sixes in the next over.

Dickwella added 23 runs with both Tharanga and Munaweera, as Sri Lanka reached 50 for two in the sixth over. Munaweera kept up the assault on Indian bowlers and hit 5 fours as well as four sixes.

He reached his fifty off 26 balls, the second quickest for a Sri Lankan batsman in this format against India, after Kumar Sangakkara who took only 21 balls. Using their five-pronged attack, inclusive of three spinners, India rotated the bowlers around.

The turning point perhaps came when Mahendra Singh Dhoni pulled off a trademark quick stumping to dismiss Angelo Mathews (7) off Chahal in the seventh over. It denied Sri Lanka an aggressive middle-order partnership.

Kuldeep Yadav (2/20) and Axar Patel (0/29) then put on the brakes after the power-play overs as Munaweera and Thisara Perera (11) added 37 runs off 29 balls. Munaweera was bowled off Yadav in the 12th over, the bat escaping from his hand as he looked to force a pull and the ball hit the stumps instead.

Two overs later, Chahal returned to strike a double blow as he bowled Perera and then trapped Dasun Shanaka (0) LBW in the space of four balls. Sri Lanka were crawling by then and were reduced to 134 for seven in the 17th over as Seekkuge Prasanna (11) was caught in the deep off Yadav.

Priyanjan then played a blinder of a knock to help Sri Lanka post a competitive target. He was watchful at first as Sri Lanka didn't want to lose any more wickets and put on 36 runs off 20 balls with Isuru Udana (19 off 10 balls) for the eighth wicket.

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First Published: September 6, 2017, 11:37 PM IST

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