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Clinical India ease past reckless Sri Lanka

An all-round show by the Indian team saw the hosts register a clinical seven-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in the second T20I in Indore on Tuesday (January 7). Chasing a below par 143, India reached the target with 15 balls to spare in front of a capacity crowd at the Holkar stadium. With this victory Virat Kohli’s men now lead the three-match series 1-0 after the first game on Sunday in Guwahati was abandoned due to rain and wet conditions.

Openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan laid the foundation for the chase as the duo put up 71 runs in quick time for the first wicket. Rahul was the aggressive in that partnership, smashing six boundaries in his 32-ball 45 before he was cleaned up by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. Soon against the same bowler Dhawan was given leg-before through a DRS call after scoring 32 off 29.

From 86 for 2, Shreyas Iyer and captain Kohli added 51 runs and steadied the ship. Iyer, who came ahead of the skipper at No. 3, looked to be in the mood, smashing it round the ground, one among those hits reached the third tier of the stadium. The Mumbai batsman however, was unable to take his team to the finish line as he fell prey to a short delivery from Lahiru Kumara and mistimed one to end up caught by Dasun Shanaka for 34 off 26 balls (three boundaries and one six).

Kohli then finished things off in style as he pulled one powerfully over long leg for a six as he remained unbeaten on 30 off just 17 balls.

Earlier, after winning the toss and inviting the visitors to bat first all the Indian bowlers put up clinical show. Led by fiery spells of Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur the hosts restricted Sri Lanka to a below par 142 for 9 in their allotted 20 overs, despite their openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando providing them a decent start in the powerplay.

Washington Sundar struck first as he saw the back of a dangerous looking Fernando for a 16-ball 22. Saini then dismissed Gunathilaka with a ripper of a yorker that was too hot for the Sri Lanka batsman to handle. Saini fired in a 147.5 kmph delivery that crashed right at the base of the middle stump as Gunathilaka departed for 20. During one of his spells in this game, the Delhi bowler even managed to cross the 150 kmph mark.

Kusal Perera, who was looking good attacking Kuldeep Yadav head on, finally lost the ball to the chinaman bowler. He gave the charge, but mistimed the delivery well wide of off-stump that ended up in Shikhar Dhawan taking a good catch at long-on. Perera top scored with 34 off 28, his innings laced with just three boundaries.

From thereon, the floodgates were open as wickets kept falling at regular intervals which prevented the visitors from gaining any momentum in their innings.

Thakur then bowled accurately in the depth and got rid off Isuru Udana (1) and Lasith Malinga (0) in the 19th over. It was only because of three back to back boundaries by Hasaranga of the bowling of India’s comeback man Jasprit Bumrah in final over, Sri Lanka managed to cross the 140-mark.

The final game of the series will be played in at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) stadium in Pune on January 10.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 142/9 in 20 overs (Kusal Perera 34; Shardul Thakur 3/23, Navdeep Saini 2/18, Kuldeep Yadav 2/38) lost to India 144/3 in 17.3 overs (KL Rahul 45, Shreyas Iyer 34; Wanindu Hasaranga 2/30) by 7 wickets.

Player of the match: Navdeep Saini

Sandipan Banerjee is a senior cricket journalist with experience stretching across more than a decade. Having founded a number of cricket information resources and prior experience of working in big-ticket events like ICC Cricket World Cup, IPL and ICC Champions’ Trophy; he joined the team at in 2019 to provide strategic guidance and to assume a brand ambassador role as principal correspondent. Due to Sandipan’s commitment towards the game, it’s safe to assume that if India are involved in a Test, ODI or a T20I, he’ll be there covering the match!

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