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Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni stand out as India down Sri Lanka in biggest T20 win

Thisara Perera won the toss and chose to bowl against Rohit Sharma’s Indian cricket team at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack and the hosts brought back KL Rahul and Jaydev Unadkat for the match.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 20, 2017 23:05 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Cuttack
India vs Sri Lanka,Indian national cricket team,Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal’s 4/23 helped India achieve a record 93-run victory against Sri Lanka in Cuttack and go 1-0 up in the three-match series.(AP)

A T20 victory by 93 runs tells its own story. En route KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and, to an extent, Jaydev Unadkat made a point about their India future. But perhaps the biggest bonus was the manner in which MS Dhoni showed why he is still indispensable to this team..(IND v SL UPDATES)

Rahul made the most of Shikhar Dhawan’s absence, scoring 61 off 48 balls and helping set the stage for fireworks of the kind that keep cricket’s shortest form popular. That Dhoni was providing them, along with Pandey, made the wait to get in from 4pm worthwhile for a packed Barabati Stadium on Wednesday. (IND v SL SCORECARD)

Dhoni’s arrival added to the luminous intensity because almost every mobile phone torch was lit by way of greeting. He ended India’s innings with a six after adding 68 in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand with Pandey.

MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey struck aggressive cameos at the end to deflate Sri Lanka. (AFP)

Leaking runs

Dhoni made 39 and Pandey 32, both making statements of intent of their own. Dushmantha Chameera leaked 19 in the innings’ 17th over and Nuwan Pradeep gave 21 in the 19th, Pandey hitting an attempted yorker for six over third man.

Dhoni’s first four was a bazooka fired from shoulders which don’t look like they are going on 37. And he had Thisara Perera looking befuddled with a hoick to a full toss, off the innings’ last ball. Just in case you thought he was all about brute force, check out the swivel to a Perera slower ball that fetched four past the wicket-keeper.

Three dismissals off Yuzvendra Chahal, a catch and two stumpings to wide deliveries, and a catch off Kuldeep Yadav meant a good evening for a man who is always one match away from questions being asked about his future. Chahal took four wickets, and Yadav two before Hardik Pandya cleaned the tail.

Spongy pitch

Without trying too hard, Rahul and Rohit Sharma, debuting as T20I skipper, went at almost eight-an-over before the first wicket fell. Rohit wasn’t the only one surprised by the spongy nature of the wicket; Angelo Mathews also played too early and was caught and bowled.

KL Rahul blasted his second Twenty20 International fifty as India posted a big score. (AFP)

Till the fifth over, Sri Lanka were a run ahead of India at 39 albeit having lost an extra wicket. But in the next five overs, four of them from spinners, Sri Lanka scored 20 runs and lost Mathews. They lost wickets regularly thereafter and India showed that bowling wasn’t as challenging as it seemed earlier in the evening.

Between the sixth and the 10th overs, Rahul and Shreyas Iyer added 49. A lot of that was due to Sri Lanka’s attempt to bowl slower deliveries and yorkers resulting in full tosses. It was a trend through the innings, almost like it was an early Christmas gift to the hosts.

Rahul got to his second T20I half-century in 34 balls with six fours and a six. He survived a leg-before shout off Mathews when on 23, being reprieved by a review. On either side of that Rahul helped himself against largely listless bowling.

He went over the top on the off-side when Chameera gave him the latitude and wasn’t afraid to pull when Perera dropped it short. Rahul gave Mathews the same treatment when he tried some chin music and this time it went for six. Earlier, he had helped himself to an easy boundary when Akila Dananjaya bowled a full toss on the leg-side.

From start to finish, India were not troubled.

First Published: Dec 20, 2017 18:50 IST