Nidahas Trophy: Kusal Perera overshadows Shikhar Dhawan as Sri Lanka beat India
Shikhar Dhawan struck 90 but Kusal Perera’s blitz helped Sri Lanka end their losing streak against India in a thrilling opening game of the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 tri-series.cricket Updated: Mar 06, 2018 23:34 IST
At 127/3 in 12.2 overs, Sri Lanka required 48 off 46 balls and was on course to break the hoodoo against India. However, Kusal Perera, who had blasted 66 off 36 balls and put the hosts in that position, was stumped by Dinesh Karthik off Washington Sundar. (HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)
His dismissal got India back in the contest at the Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday as they defended 174/5.
But a six and four in the 18th over by Thisara Perera off Jaydev Unadkat ensured Perera’s blitz was not wasted as Sri Lanka snapped their seven-match losing streak against India, winning the opening game of the Nidahas Trophy 2018 Twenty20 tri-series by five wickets with nine balls to spare. Fittingly, Thisara Perera (22*) hit the winning runs by pulling Shardul Thakur to the long leg fence.
Dhawan’s knock in vain
Shikhar Dhawan’s exhibition of power, in which he hit six sixes in a Twenty20 International for the first time, helped register his highest T20 International score. It maintained his great run, having scored 72, 24 and 47 during India’s T20 series win in South Africa.
The left-hander’s brilliance, combined with a magnificent 95-run stand with Manish Pandey, the third highest for India for the third wicket in this format, laid the base after Sri Lanka got off to a brilliant start after opting to bowl.
In the fourth ball of the first over, skipper Rohit Sharma (0) drove a full ball from Dushmantha Chameera over extra cover, but the 35-year-old Jeevan Mendis ran back to take a brilliant catch and the crowd erupted in joy.
In the next over, India suffered a further jolt as Suresh Raina missed a full toss from Nuwan Pradeep to be bowled for one. Pandey, though, batted fluently and gave Dhawan company. After going past fifty, the left-hander batted in a different zone, hammering a six off spinner Akila Dananjaya and Danushka Gunathilaka and followed up with two huge sixes off Dushmantha Chameera.
Dhawan missed out on a well-deserved century, but India had finished with a solid score of 174/5.
Perera flays India
In response, Sri Lanka started like a train with Kusal Mendis scoring two boundaries, but Sundar struck in his first over. However, Perera tore into the Indian bowling after getting off the mark with a six. He then targeted Shardul Thakur by hammering him for five fours and a six as 27 runs came in the third over. Perera blasted a six off Chahal to reach his eighth fifty off 22 balls, the second fastest by a Sri Lankan. Despite a stutter in the middle overs, his knock had ensured Sri Lanka crossed the line.