IND v SL, 3rd T20I, 2022-23: Surya scores India's 2nd fastest T20I hundred; home side pockets series
India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I, 2022-23: Suryakumar Yadav's 112, Rahul Tripathi's 35 and Axar Patel's 21 & 1-19 are top performances. India won by 91 runs and take home series by 2-1 margin. Suryakumar Yadav scores 2nd fastest T20I ton for India.
Brief Scores: India 228-5 (Suryakumar 112*, Gill 46, Rajitha 1-35) beat Sri Lanka 137 (Shanaka 23, Mendis 23, Arshdeep 3-20) by 91 runs.
Player of the Match: Suryakumar Yadav (112* off 51 deliveries)
Player of the series – Axar Patel (117 runs at a strike rate of 195 in three matches and 3 wickets at an economy of 7.40)
After Sri Lanka broke a 13-match T20I losing streak against India, the two sides moved to Rajkot for the 3rd and final T20I with the series hanging in the balance at 1-1. India captain Hardik Pandya corrected his toss fiasco from the last match and rightly elected to bat first on this track where results have been 50/50 in the four T20Is played here so far. While the Indian team went in with an unchanged eleven, Sri Lanka brought in Avishka Fernando in place of Bhanuka Rajapaksa.
Suryakumar Yadav continues his golden run of form
Suryakumar Yadav turned everything upside down with his 360-degree batting scoring a whirlwind 112* innings off just 51 deliveries. While Rahul Tripathi also joined India’s new approach of going hard every delivery, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya and Deepak Hooda failed looking for glory. Though Shubman Gill scored 46, the 127.77 strike rate approach was of the 90s which isn’t how India are planning to play T20 cricket in the future. At the moment, India look over-reliant on SKY to turn up every game and it would be interesting to see how India’s batters perform without Surya.
The energetic and high on confidence Sri Lankan team looked as if they never arrived from Pune as they had no Plan B to SKY’s carnage. With Dasun Shanaka not opting to bowl, Sri Lanka looked like a handicapped team with only five bowling options, maybe something they would look to correct in the future. Sri Lanka’s lack of power-hitters is a weakness known by the world now as the team strikes at only 120.66 between 2021 to 2022. The lowest run-scoring rate among the top 8 teams in T20I cricket in the same timeline.
India pile up 228-5 & bundle out Sri Lanka for 137
Ishan Kishan continued his poor run of form and was dismissed on the fourth delivery of the innings. The ball was shaping just the wee bit for the fast bowlers. However, India’s Rahul Tripathi was there to change the shape of the cricket ball with his hard yet elegant hitting. Typical Tripathi innings where he was walking down the track to fast bowlers to dispatch them for sixes with ease. Rahul made a quickfire 35 off 16 delivery and made the “V” behind the bowler his home hitting 45 per cent of his runs in that area. With Rahul’s fiery approach, momentum shifted in India’s favour as India ended the powerplay at 53-2. Suryakumar Yadav continued India’s go hard approach with a ravaging 112* off just 51 deliveries where he scored runs just as nonchalantly as we wrote the one-liner. Axar’s 9-ball 21* along with SKY’s 360-degree shots helped India post a mammoth 228-5 at the end of 20 overs.
If Sri Lanka picked a wicket off the fourth delivery, India almost got a wicket on the first delivery which was later overturned in Sri Lanka’s favor courtesy Decision Review System (DRS) showing the ball to be missing Pathum Nissanka’s stumps. Sri Lanka were looking on track to chase the score with 37 runs off four overs until India’s man with the golden arms, Axar Patel came and broke the opening partnership dismissing the dangerous Kusal Mendis. With 12.33 runs required every over from the sixth over itself, Sri Lankan batters had no options but to throw their bat at almost everything as they lost two quick wickets in a span of six deliveries.
The Indian bowlers gave nothing away, as Sri Lanka were reduced to 107-6 after 13 overs. And it was just a matter of time India breached through the lower order as Arshdeep Singh cleaned up the tail, helping India win by 91 runs and bag the series 2-1. Since 2013, India played 10 series deciding matches winning 9 of them (1 N/R). With this win, India won their 19th match against Sri Lanka out of 29 played. The most by a team against any opponent.
Let’s scan the top three performances from the third T20I between India and Sri Lanka played at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Rajkot.
Surya re-writes batting manual scoring a 51-ball 112* with shots all around the SKY!
With India at 53-2 at the end of powerplay, India and the world’s best T20I batter at the moment, Suryakumar Yadav walked into bat. Surya hit the first six inside the first six deliveries he faced and gave glimpses of what’s to come. On the other end, Shubman Gill was struggling to get bat on ball, while Sri Lankan bowlers were struggling to bowl a dot ball to Surya. Within a blink of an eye, Surya was 41 off 23 deliveries with eight overs left. Then began the Surya carnage if it hadn’t started already.
SKY targeted Dilshan Madushanka for 17 runs, which included two sixes and one four in the 13th over to bring up his 14th T20I half-century. The first six was a predetermined paddle scoop over third man. This made Madushanka change the line as he went outside off and that is what SKY wanted as he was waiting to play the extra cover drive, tonking it for a four. The fifth delivery, Surya just played with the bowler flicking a full delivery over mid-wicket for the third boundary of the over.
If 17 runs off Madushanka wasn’t enough, India scored 23 runs off Maheesh Theekshana’s over with SKY doing a copy paste of the previous over, again scoring two sixes and one boundary. Using his wrists, he perfectly tonked Theekshana’s carrom deliveries over extra cover for two massive sixes. The Lankan bowlers were turning pages of the bowling manual to find answers to Surya’s out of the book shots and were left clueless as Surya was hitting sixes standing tall and even while being flat on the ground! The only other person who had a difficult time than the Lankan bowlers was the cameraman who had to figure out where the ball went off Surya’s magical wand.
Scoring his second fifty off just 20 deliveries, Surya brought up his third T20I hundred and the first in India. SKY’s 45-ball 100 was also the second-fastest T20I century by an Indian, with the fastest being Rohit Sharma’s 35-ball century against the same opponents in Indore back in 2017. This innings also helped Surya become the first player on the planet to score three T20I centuries outside of the opening slot.
Axar - the all-rounder - packs a punch with both bat and ball
With the designated Indian finishers - Hardik Pandya and Deepak Hooda - failing to do the job, India’s MVP of the second T20I played a crucial cameo to score 21 runs off just nine deliveries. Axar’s innings also lifted pressure off Surya’s shoulders when the latter slowed down a touch just before his 100. Axar’s batting is not letting India miss Ravindra Jadeja as the former inflicted the damage down the order with a staggering strike rate of 233.33.
Talking about the ball, when India desperately needed a wicket to break the opening stand, Axar Patel did the job for India with the ball in Hand. Coming to bowl inside the powerplay, Axar struck first blood dismissing Kusal Mendis. Axar’s wicket open the floodgates for India as the other bowlers rode on the momentum with Sri Lanka under pressure to score more than 12 runs per over from the very beginning.
Rahul “dancing” Tripathi scores an impactful 16-ball 35
While India have revamped the approach ever since the 2021 T20 World Cup, India have failed to find batters who can go bang bang even when the chips are down. One such player in India’s lineup is the newest addition, Rahul Tripathi. Rahul is the kind of player who lives and dies by the sword and that is the need of the hour in T20 cricket. With India losing a wicket in the first over, the traditional Indian team would have looked to consolidate and build a partnership. Not this new and young Indian team, and Rahul’s innings was testimony to the same.
Coming down the track to the fast bowlers and sweeping backward of square leg was key to Tripathi’s innings. Tripathi scored 45 pc of his total runs in the “V’ and looked unflustered to say the least with his clean hitting. This small but impactful innings was signs of what is to come ahead for India in the shortest format of the game. An innings at a strike rate of 218.75 is what India wants from their number 3 and Tripathi sure has a long way to go.
Sri Lanka captain, Dasun Shanaka: Before coming here, I wasn't in form. From the start of this series, I got in good form. Happy with my own performance. The way the boys fought in this series, lots of positives. I had a finger injury, that's the reason I didn't bowl in this series but looking forward to bowling in the ODIs. Wishing the Indian team well, especially Surya who was too good. On the field, I want to keep calm and let the boys learn. When I come to bat, it's a different game.
India captain, Hardik Pandya: I think he (SKY) has been surprising everyone every innings that he is batting. He is just telling us that batting is so easy. If I were bowling to him, I'd be disheartened on seeing his batting. Special mention to Rahul Tripathi - the ball was doing something but he showed great intent. Then SKY did his thing. You don't need to tell him anything, he knows what to do. If there is any situation where he is unsure, we have our chats but more often than not, he knows what to do. I'm really proud of him (Axar), the way he is batting down the order and hitting. This will give a lot of confidence to him and the team as well. My motto in life as captain has been that I'll back my players. These are the best T20 cricketers in India and that's why they are here.
What’s to Come
After winning the series 2-1, India will look to continue their winning momentum in the three-match ODI series which starts from January 10 at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati.