Cricket Article

India Enhance Finals Berth with Sri Lanka Win

India Enhance Finals Berth with Sri Lanka Win Photo: TT

The 4th match in this year’s Nidahas T20I Trophy saw India beat the hosts Sri Lanka in Colombo in a game reduced to 19 overs a side by rain earlier in the day.

Going into the match things were evenly poised in the tri-nation series, each team having a victory apiece to their name, and Sri Lanka leading the league on net run rate. The India win saw them displace them, and they now looked well set for a place in Sunday’s final, and may still qualify, even if they lose to Bangladesh on Wednesday.

Put into bat by India who won the toss, Sri Lanka looked to get off to a fast start with their opening pair of Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis. They stumbled when Gunathilaka became the first of Shardul Thakur’s four victims, and shortly afterwards Kusal Perera was out cheaply to Yuzvendra Chahal. However with Mendis and Upul Tharanga at the crease, the hosts appeared well-placed when Upul Tharanga fell to Vijay Shankar for 22 in the 11th over, with the score on 96 – 3.

However, off-spinner Washington Sundar bowled four tight overs conceding just 21 runs, and with Thakur, claiming wickets at the other end on his way to his best T20I figures and the man of the match award, the Sri Lanka innings faltered. They lost 3 wickets in the space of 13 balls, with Mendis, top-scoring with 55, sixth man out. Dasun Shanaka managed 19, but the rest of the Sri Lankan tail struggled, as the home side limped to 152 – 9 at the end of their innings.

In reply, India’s openers, Shikhar Dhawan and stand-in captain Rohit Sharma fell early, and although KL Rahul and Suresh Raina looked to have steadied matters, both were out in relatively quick succession, Raina to Nuwan Pradeep for a 27 that included 2 sixes, and Rahul unlucky to hit his own wicket for 18. However, Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik came in and calmly steered India to victory with an unbeaten partnership of 68, with Pandey undefeated on 42 and Karthik on 39.

Disappointment for the hosts who will now look to beat Bangladesh on Friday, and hope that India can do them a favour against the same opponents in Wednesday’s match.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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