India continued their winning form in the first T20I against Sri Lanka played at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack. Sri Lankan captain Thisara Perera after winning an important invited India into bat.
KL Rahul who made a comeback in the squad scored 61. MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey smashed Sri Lankan bowlers in death overs to post 180. The Indian spinners Kuldeep Yadav, Chahal, Pandya, and Unadkat took wickets to dismiss Sri Lanka for just 87 in 16 overs.
Sri Lankan captain Thisara Perera won the toss and invited India into bat. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul got the team off to a good start adding 38 runs in 5 overs. Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 17 off 13 balls. India scored 50 runs at the end of first six overs. KL Rahul and Iyer played with positive adding 63 runs for the second wicket. Rahul scored his fifty in 34 balls. Iyer was dismissed for 24 off 20 balls.
MS Dhoni came at number 4 and looked in good touch. KL Rahul struggled and could hit big shots. He was dismissed 61 off 48 balls. At the end of 16 overs, India was struggling at 119 for 3. In the 17th over, both MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey smashed 17 runs. Nuwan Pradeep was punished for 21 runs in the 19th over which shifted the momentum to India. In the last four overs, India scored 61. MS Dhoni finished the innings in style with a six to help Men in Blue post 180 for 3. MS Dhoni surpassed Suresh Raina and became the third leading run-getter in T20I cricket for India.
Chasing the target of 181, Jaydev Unadkat dismissed Niroshan Dickwella for 13 runs. Tharanga and Kusal Perera added 24 runs for the 2nd wicket. Yuzvendra Chahal was called upon bowling, got the big wicket of Tharanga for 23 off 16 balls. At the end of six overs, Sri Lanka scored just 40 runs for 2 wickets.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav bowled brilliantly in the middle overs taking wickets. Chahal dismissed Mathews, Gunaratne, and captain Thisara Perera. Kuldeep Yadav also created pressure on the Sri Lankan batting line up. Hardik Pandya also picked 3 wickets. Sri Lanka was dismissed for just 87 runs in 16 overs. It was India’s biggest win in T20I cricket. Men in Blue crush Sri Lanka by 93 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
India 180 for 3 in 20 overs ( KL Rahul 61, MS Dhoni 39*, Manish Pandey 32*) beat Sri Lanka 87 in 16 overs ( Tharanga 23, Yuzvendra Chahal 4/23, Hardik Pandya 3/29) by 93 runs.
Captain Thisara Perera said: India batted really well. With 180 runs on the board, we needed a good start but could not get. It was a disappointing loss for us. Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal bowled well, created pressure on us. Next match will be an important match, need to play well to challenge India.
Captain Rohit Sharma said: To have KL Rahul at the top of the order was a great move. MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey finished the innings brilliantly. Dhoni has won India many games, now wanted him to bat without pressure. 180 was a great total. Kuldeep Yadav, Chahal with wicket-taking capabilities did the job for us.
Man of the match Yuzvendra Chahal said: India got a good total of 180 runs. As we started bowling, I dismissed Tharanga and from there it started. I mixed my variations with googly, leg spin and troubled the Sri Lankan batsmen. The pitch had turned and bowled according to the field. I also enjoy Kuldeep Yadav company.
The second T20I will be played at Holkar Stadium, Indore on 22nd December.