Saini and Shardul prove too hot for Sri Lanka

Dance of delight: Nitin Saini is on cloud nine after castling Danushka Gunathilaka.

Dance of delight: Nitin Saini is on cloud nine after castling Danushka Gunathilaka.  


The two pacers restrict the visitors to 142; Rahul, Dhawan, Shreyas and Kohli take India past the finish line in style

India made short work of the insipid Sri Lankans, cruising to a seven-wicket victory in the second T20I at the Holkar Stadium here on Tuesday.

Chasing a sub-par 143-run target, India rode on handy contributions from K.L. Rahul (45, 32b, 6x4), Shikhar Dhawan (32, 29b, 2x4), Shreyas Iyer (34, 26b, 3x4, 1x6) and skipper Virat Kohli (30 not out, 17b, 1x4, 2x6) to get the job done with 15 balls to spare.

Rahul was especially good with the drive, dispatching Lahiru Kumara and Lasith Malinga with a straight bat. A wild slog off spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, however, ended his stay.

Sedate Dhawan

His partner Dhawan, who is fighting to keep his place in the side, was more sedate in his approach. He was not quite fluent, but stuck around long enough to make a mark. The Delhi southpaw moved to 32, before Hasaranga trapped him leg-before on a review.

When the television umpire declared Dhawan out, the crowd cheered, as Virat Kohli, the main attraction, walked in.

The captain had an easy task ahead of him, with India needing 57 from 52 balls. Kohli patiently went about his business, picking up singles and twos initially.


Shreyas provided the fireworks, smashing Hasaranga for two fours and a six in the 16th over. The 51-run third-wicket stand between Shreyas and Kohli sealed the issue in favour of the Men in Blue. Sri Lanka was hampered by an injury to left-arm speedster Isuru Udana, who landed awkwardly on his knee while fielding. Udana, the leader of the pace pack, was forced to walk off the field and did not bowl in the chase.

After winning the toss, India did well to restrict Sri Lanka to 142. The Sri Lankan batsmen fired in spurts, but failed to get a big one. Opener Avishka Fernando started impressively, striking a couple of perfect cover drives.

Lovely yorker

Avishka fell in spinner Washington Sundar’s first over — a mishit falling in the safe hands of Navdeep Saini at mid-off. His partner Danushka Gunathilaka looked unsettled during his 21-ball stay, before Saini disarranged his stumps with a yorker. The visitors depended heavily on Kusal Perera, who came to the crease at 54 for two. Perera was lucky early on when Shreyas picked the wrong end to attempt a run-out.

Perera got going with a mighty slog-sweep off Washington that went for a six. Not long after, he executed a shot of great ingenuity. A reverse-sweep to a length ball outside off from Kuldeep sailed into the stands, earning appreciation from even the partisan home crowd.

Kuldeep had the last laugh, however, removing Perera off the very next delivery. The batsman could not get to the pitch of the ball, yet went through with the stroke. Shikhar Dhawan tip-toed inside the long-off fence to pull off a good catch.

From here, Sri Lanka crumbled in quick time. Jasprit Bumrah took his first, and only, wicket with a clever slower ball, while Shardul Thakur picked up three in one over.

Bumrah struggles

Bumrah, playing his first match in four months, was not quite at his best. He started proceedings with a wide down leg, and continued to struggle with his direction.

The Gujarat fast bowler was most disappointing in the 20th over, bowling over-pitched deliveries to No. 8 batsman Hasaranga.

While Bumrah eased his way back into international cricket, Saini hit his straps. He bowled at great pace, consistently touching the 145-kmph mark.

Saini finished with two for 18 in four overs, effectively applying the brakes on the Sri Lankan scoring rate and walking away with the Man-of-the-Match honours.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics Sport Cricket
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 6:56:33 AM |

Next Story