India began the evening at blistering pace, and with captain fantastic Rohit Sharma doing what he does best, the Lankans had a Mt Everest like task on hand. The visitors though did not give up for most of the way, but once Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal managed to strike, there was way too much to do and India won by 88 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match series.
Having won the toss and elected to field first, Thisara Perera would have hoped to begin the evening well. But, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul had other ideas. The stylish openers did not waste any time as they went for the kill right from the beginning.
The first five overs yielded only 43 runs, with the fifth being the biggest of the lot where Pradeep conceded 17 runs. The tone for the rest of the evening was set as Rohit Sharma had warmed up with one towering six over mid-wicket.
From then on in, the Mumbaikar put his foot down on the accelerator. At an average, India were scoring at a very rapid pace. Each over saw at least two boundaries and the Lankans had nowhere to hide. Rohit Sharma was well set and he was in the mood to score a few big runs.
Sharma slapped Asela Gunaratne for a six over midwicket to bring up his half century in the ninth over and then proceeded to take 14 runs of the next three balls of the over. At the other end, KL Rahul seemed to be like a silent spectator, but behind the noise and euphoria of his captain’s knock he was inching towards his own half century.
As he bludgeoned the Lankan bowling in his own stylish way, Rohit was rapidly moving towards yet another milestone. David Miller’s record of the fastest century in T20 internationals was in danger as Rohit hit Perera for four consecutive sixes in the 11th over.
In the next over the Mumbaikar whacked a low full toss off Angelo Mathews’ bowling to the cover boundary to complete his century off just 35 balls, thus equalling Miller’s record. All this while, Rahul continued to play the role of a spectator at the other end.
Rohit though was dismissed soon after by Dushmantha Chameera for 118 and in came MS Dhoni with the agenda of keeping the run rate up and the momentum high. Rohit’s entertaining innings saw 12 boundaries and 10 sixes.
With Dhoni at one end, Rahul took over the mantle of keeping the pressure on the Lankans, and before long, he completed his half century. The opener though could not emulate his captain and was dismissed for 89 when Nuwan Pradeep had him foxed and Niroshan Dickwella was quick to react behind the stumps.
India were not only closing in on posting their highest total in a T20 match, but also had eyes on the record of the highest team total in T20 internationals. Dhoni (28) and Hardik Pandya (10) did their best with a couple of lusty blows as India posted a massive 260 in their 20 overs.
In response, Sri Lanka would have to deal in boundaries and sixes all through the innings. The pressure was on them, and the dangerous Dickwella set out in the right direction. But before he could do any damage, Jaydev Unadkat had him caught by Pandya for 25.
Upul Tharanga was joined by Kusal Perera and both batsmen gave the Indian bowlers a hard time. The experienced duo did not give in and mounted a fight that momentarily gave the Indian team enough and more to think about.
Wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were not having a good outing like they did in Cuttack as Tharanga and Perera were dealing in boundaries and sixes. The Lankans were showing some much needed fight.
With the help of seven sixes and four boundaries Perera managed to score a very valuable 77, while Tharanga (47) missed his half century by three runs. The Lankans had no choice but to continue playing at blistering pace and in an attempt to keep that going Tharanga top edged his lofted shot for a comfortable caught and bowled dismissal for Chahal.
If India had one foot in the door with that dismissal, they broke the door open in the next with Kuldeep’s wily over. The left arm chinaman bowler first dismissed Thisara Perera (0) off the first ball, and then followed it up by removing the dangerous Kusal Perera (77). Before the over was completed Asela Gunaratne (0) was also sent packing as Sri Lanka were beginning to fold like a pack of cards.
With Yadav redeeming himself by taking three wickets in the over, it was the cue for Chahal to join the party, and the off spinner did not need a second invitation. Chaturanga de Silva (1) tried a fancy reverse sweep and saw his timber disturbed, after which Sadeera Samarawickrama (5) was drawn out of his crease giving MS Dhoni the easiest of stumpings. Under pressure, Akila Dananjaya (5) tried to break free with an almighty slog, but was caught out in the deep.
The wrist spinners had taken a hammering but fought back with 7 wickets to break the back bone of the Lankan batting in a jiffy.
Hardik Pandya then had Dushmantha Chameera clean bowled, and with Angelo Mathews not coming out to bat due to an injury, India wrapped up the match and beat the Lankans by 88 runs.
Akila Dananjayachaturanga de silvaHardik Pandyaind vs sl 2017Indore T20Jaydev Unadkatkl rahulKuldeep YadavKuldeep Yadav & Yuzvendra ChahalMS Dhonirohit sharmaThisara Pererayuzvendra chahal
First Published: December 23, 2017, 8:20 AM IST