The trend of chasing teams winning the game continued in the fourth match of the three-nation Twenty20 Nidahas Trophy with India defeating Sri Lanka by six wickets at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Monday (March 12).
Rohit Sharma put Sri Lanka in after a rain-delay reduced the match to a 19-overs-a-side affair. Shardul Thakur registered his career-best figures of 4 for 27 as the home side could manage only 152 for 9 despite a blazing start. India had early jitters but Manish Pandey (42 not out off 31) and Dinesh Karthik (39 not out off 25) helped the side cross the line with nine balls to spare.
Rohit hit Suranga Lakmal for a six and a four in the first over of the chase but fell to Akila Dananjaya for 11 while trying to force another big hit. Dananjaya then dismissed in-form Shikhar Dhawan (8) on the first ball of his next over to reduce India to 22 for 2. But Suresh Raina’s cameo of 27 off 15 ensured the momentum remained with India.
After Raina fell, KL Rahul and Pandey took charge of the innings, playing risk-free cricket. However, Sri Lanka struck back with Rahul’s wicket who trod on his stumps while playing back to a Jeevan Mendis delivery. At 85 for 4, it looked like Sri Lanka were back in the game but Pandey and Karthik kept the bowlers at bay. The two batsmen added 68 off 46 balls during their unbeaten stand for the fifth wicket.
With nine required off last two overs, Karthik slammed two boundaries before taking a single off the next ball to complete the formalities. For Sri Lanka, Dananjaya finished with figures of 2 for 19 off his four overs but didn’t find much support from the other bowlers.
Earlier, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka got Sri Lanka off to a flying start. The duo added 25 in just 2.1 overs before a brilliant catch by Raina off Thakur sent Gunathilaka (17 off 8) back. In the next over, Kusal Perera (3) attempted a reverse sweep off Washington Sundar (2 for 21) only to drag the ball on to his stumps to leave Sri Lanka 34 for 2.
Kusal Mendis, at the other end, kept playing his shots as 50 came up for Sri Lanka in just 5.1 overs. Upul Tharanga though found it difficult to keep going and was eventually bowled for a 24-ball 22 while attempting a hoick off Vijay Shankar.
Meanwhile, Kusal Mendis brought up his fifty off 31 balls but wickets kept falling at the other end. Thisara Perera, leading the side in the absence of Dinesh Chandimal, tonked the first two balls he faced for sixes but was caught off Thakur soon after while trying to repeat the act. Jeevan Mendis didn’t last long either and was bowled off Washington for one.
Five balls later, Yuzvendra Chahal jolted the Sri Lankan innings further by dismissing Kusal Mendis as the hosts slipped from 113 for 3 to 120 for 6. The batsman struck three fours and as many sixes in his 38-ball 55.
Dasun Shanaka (19 off 16) took the side past 150 but fell to Thakur, who varied his pace intelligently to ensure Sri Lanka ended with a below-par total.