Manish Pandey, Shardul Thakur star for India in hard-fought win vs Sri Lanka
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Manish Pandey, Shardul Thakur star for India in hard-fought win vs Sri Lanka

Manish Pandey’s vital knock, combined with Shardul Thakur’s career-best 4/27 helped India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets and come closer to a spot in the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 tri-series final.

cricket Updated: Mar 13, 2018 00:02 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Colombo
India vs Sri Lanka,Sri Lanka vs India,Rohit Sharma
Manish Pandey helped India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the Nidahas Trophy T20 series in Colombo on Monday.(AP)

Manish Pandey’s vital 42* and his 68-run stand for the fifth wicket with Dinesh Karthik (39*) after Shardul Thakur’s career-beest 4/27 helped India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in a rain-reduced 19-overs-a-side game on Monday and get closer to a spot in the final of the Nidahas Trophy 2018 T20 tri-series. (SL vs IND UPDATES)

Pandey’s knock steadied the Indian innings after India’s three most experienced batsmen failed. Chasing 153, Rohit Sharma started off with a big six and a four off Suranga Lakmal but spinner Akila Dananjaya broke his wickets drought when the Indian skipper danced down the track and hoicked a flighted ball straight to mid wicket. (SL vs IND SCORES)

Dhawan, Raina fail

However, Sri Lanka received a big boost when Shikhar Dhawan, who had smashed 90 and 55, went for eight as he miscued a flick to mid-on. Suresh Raina, under pressure since the tour of South Africa, looked in great touch after smashing two fours and a six off Dushmantha Chameera. The left-hander hammered yet another six off Nuwan Pradeep but in the quest for aggression, he slapped a flat-batted pull straight to mid-off next ball to fall for 27.

KL Rahul joined Pandey and the duo kept pace with the required rate. In the 10th over though, Rahul (18) created unwanted history as he became the first Indian and 10th batsman overall to be out hit wicket. At 85/4 and still needing 68 to win off 60 balls, the situation was tricky but Pandey and Karthik calmed the nerves.

Pandey hit some crucial boundaries while Karthik showed great composure. A six in the 15th over bowled by Thisara Perera to Pandey eased the pressure, and towards the end, Karthik struck boundaries to ensure India’s batsmen did not let Shardul Thakur’s hard work go waste.

Thakur the star

Mumbai pacer Thakur’s four-wicket haul, combined with crucial strikes from spinners Washington Sundar (2/21) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1/34) towards the death overs restricted Sri Lanka to 152/9.

Kusal Mendis blasted his fourth T20 fifty, and until he was in the middle, Sri Lanka looked good for a score in excess of 170. However, once he hit a cut straight to cover off Chahal in the 15th over, the innings lost steam and Sri Lanka could muster only 39 runs in the last seven overs.

Thakur ran through the tail and was unlucky to miss a hat-trick off the last ball of the innings. Mendis’ effort and his 62-run partnership with Upul Tharanga were the only positives in a Sri Lanka batting that failed to click. After Mendis was dismissed while set, Sri Lanka failed to get to the desired total.

India will now take on Bangladesh in their final league game on Wednesday and a win for Rohit’s side will assure them of a spot in the final.

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 20:49 IST