India's IPL all-stars too hot for Sri Lanka in first T20I
Dushmantha Chameera and Bhuvneshwar Kumar both began the respective innings making the very first ball to swing sharply. The Sri Lankan quick got Prithvi Shaw to edge one to the keeper, while Avishka Fernando’s thick edge flew over slips. Drama, skill, luck, it was all there in the first of the 3 T20I’s these teams will play closing in on the T20 World Cup. But Sri Lanka were unable to ride their luck and India with their superior bowling resources skittled Sri Lanka out for 126 to win by 38 runs.
In defense of 164, Dhawan used 3 overs of spin in the powerplay, nominating Krunal Pandya and Varun Chakravarthy over Yuzvendra Chahal. Krunal bowled 2 of them, getting India their first breakthrough in the third over. Chakravarthy began with a 2-run over to kick-start his international career. Chahal than came on to bowl in the 7th and dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva for 9 with his stock ball, a spinning leg break to reduce Sri Lanka to 50/3. Only 11 runs came between overs 6-9 for the home side, a spell of play that can peg the chasing team back significantly.
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However, Sri Lanka did not press the panic button. Charith Asalanka kept coming at India finding boundaries against both Chahal and Chakravarthy who were bowling to their respective strengths. He kept his team in the game till the 16th over when he finally failed to clear deep mid-wicket off Deepak Chahar for 44 (26). Chahar then got into the act, getting some pace on the ball to castle new man Wanindu Hasaranga's stumps. He finished with 2/44 while his senior new ball partner Kumar clocked even better figures with 4/22.
India finish with 164/5
India began its batting with three of their top order regulars and the dynamic Rishabh Pant away in England. Still their batting line up was nothing short of an all-star IPL unit. An amalgamation of most versatile and aggressive batsmen from different IPL franchises, and the stage was set for them to make a statement.
Prithvi Shaw one of two debutants couldn’t trouble the scorers but for the rest of the batting group it was an opportunity to send a timely reminder to the selectors.
In Sanju Samson’s quickfire 27 (20) there were plenty of runs in front of the wickets, where he lofted spinners with elan. Yadav with his confidence sky-high did the same even better - 360 degrees. Close to half his runs came in the reverse V. For that unique ability alone amongst Indian batsmen, he could become key to their World Cup middle order plans. In the same over where Chamika Karunaratne got Dhawan 46 (36) out caught in the deep, he found Yadav dispatching him for a six over deep mid-wicket on one knee.
When Yadav finally got out after completing his 50, India was left with Mumbai Indians batting trio of Pandya brothers and Ishan Kishan to hit out in the final 4 overs. There was a difference though – the wicket was slower and boundaries longer at Premadasa stadium than conventionally seen in T20s. With Hardik Pandya failing to find his hitting range on the tour, they had to be content with 33 runs, finishing with what appeared just about par total of 164. At the end, with the gulf between the two sides, it proved to be more than enough.