India vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I, 2022-23, Top Performances: Deepak Hooda-Axar Patel's 68-run stand, Shivam Mavi's 4-22 and Umran Malik's 2-27 are top performances as India beat Sri Lanka in first T20I by two runs. India lead three-match series by 1-0.
Brief Scores: India 162-5 (Hooda 41*, Ishan 37, Hasaranga 1-22) beat Sri Lanka 160 (Shanaka 45, Mavi 4-22, Umran 2-27) by 2 runs
Player of the Match: Deepak Hooda – 41* (23) and 2 run outs
India and Sri Lanka rekindled their rivalry with yet another bilateral series in the former’s home conditions. This time in the form of a 3-match T20I series, the first game of which was played at the iconic Wankhede Stadium which hosted India for the 50th time in international cricket.
The hosts won the closely fought game, which shifted to one side from another multiple times, by 2 wickets. If the stand of 68* between Axar Patel and Deepak Hooda gave India a respectable score, it was the young pace duo of Shivam Mavi and Umran Malik whose cumulative 6 wickets took the team past the finish line.
Despite Sri Lanka being Asian T20 champions, India started as overwhelming favourites though they were fielding a new-look team.
Head-to-Head: Matches - 26, India won - 17, Sri Lanka won - 8, No Result - 1
Sri Lanka won the last T20I game played between the sides in an Asia Cup match in Dubai.
Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to field first as historically the teams chasing have been highly successful here at Wankhede. India’s new skipper Hardik Pandya led a new look Indian side devoid of most of the senior players including Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. Shivam Mavi and Shubman Gill made their T20I debuts. While Mavi got the nod as Arshdeep Singh is still not completely fit, Gill was picked ahead of Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Sri Lankan team named a playing XI that largely played the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia led by the inspirational captain Shanaka.
Youngsters make a mark for India
The major talking point of the game is how Indian youngsters stepped up at crucial junctures of the game. Hooda was instrumental in giving the team a solid finish along with Axar when the top-order batters could not convert their starts into big ones. The pace sensation Umran Malik showed his capabilities as he rushed the Sri Lankans with his pace and got two vital wickets.
However, the major positive was the performance of Mavi on his debut. Not only he took 4 wickets for 22 but the way in which he operated with the new ball and towards the latter half at the death showed his mental toughness. The confidence shown by Hardik and coaches to had these youngsters opportunities is heartening to watch and thus far paid rich dividends.
India’s struggles continue in the powerplays
Being inserted into bat, India’s in-form opener Ishan Kishan got the team off to a flyer smashing 17 runs in the very first over bowled by Kasun Rajitha. Gill too opened his T20I account with a boundary but soon succumbed to Maheesh Theekshana for a 5-ball 7. The wicket slowed down India as the free-flowing Suryakumar Yadav couldn’t get going and ultimately perished to Chamika Karunaratne for 7 as India could muster only 41 runs in the powerplay.
Sanju Samson who got a life earlier, fell to Dhananjaya de Silva a few balls later in the same over. Courtesy of some big hits from Ishan and well-timed boundaries from Hardik, India reached 75/3 at the halfway mark. But pressure kept building on Ishan and against the run of play, the left-hander perished in taking on Wanindu Hasaranga for a 29-ball 37. Pandya was the next to go after making a 29 off 27 deliveries.
However, the 6th wicket pair of Hooda-Axar took India to a respectable total and giving India something to bowl. Once again, the last 5 overs proved to highly productive as 62 runs were scored which is encouraging. At the same time, India’s middle-over woes got exposed again as only 25 runs were scored between overs numbers 11 and 15.
Sri Lanka were sedate in their start with openers Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka playing a watchful innings. The latter’s timber got shattered in the 2nd over thanks to a peach from Mavi. The pacer once again got into the act by dismissing Dhananjaya in his very next over. Like India, the visitors struggled in the first six overs scoring only 35 runs.
Asalanka who impressed in the T20 World Cup, had a shaky start eventually falling to the pace of Umran Malik for 12. Kusal Mendis, the one batter who got his eye in and looked set to score big but a well-timed shot off Harshal Patel found the fielder at the deep. And he departed for 25 leaving Sri Lanka reeling at 66-4 after 10 overs.
Shanaka as often he does, took his time but teed off in the middle overs as his partnership with Hasaranga (40 off 23) almost took the game away from India’s grasp. The latter played a vital cameo of 21 from 10 and his onslaught off Chahal brightened his team’s prospects.
However, the debutant Mavi ended Hasaranga’s stay while Shanaka’s blistering 27-ball 45 was cut short by the impressive Umran Malik who also had a field day. In the end, India overcame some nervous moments thanks to some fireworks from Chamika Karunaratne as the hosts won a thriller by 2 runs.
Let’s scan the top three performances from the 1st T20I between India and Sri Lanka.
Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel’s 68* stand take the home team past 160
When Axar Patel joined Deepak Hooda at the crease, the hosts were in a spot of bother at 94/5 in the 15th over. Hardik Pandya had just got out and Hooda was just getting his eye in. Axar, who has batted very well in recent times, took his time initially and at the other end, Hooda broke the shackles by smashing the spinner Theekshana for 2 sixes in an over. He followed it up with 2 more off Hasaranga and Rajitha to end up on an unbeaten 41 off 23, while Axar blunted the left-arm pacer Madushanka who was in a middle of a great spell by smashing a boundary and a six off the latter’s final over.
Their unbeaten stand of 68 from just 35 balls took India to 162 which at one was looking distant and gave the hosts a fighting total to defend. This is India’s 2nd highest for the sixth wicket after Kohli-Pandya’s 70 runs in 2021 against England.
Shivam Mavi’s 4/22 dents Sri Lanka in the run chase
Shivam Mavi made his international debut because left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh hadn’t recovered from his illness. And boy! He made it memorable by picking wickets in each of his first 2 overs. Despite going for boundaries, Mavi kept his composure to pick the scalps of opener Nissanka and Dhananjaya in consecutive overs.
Though losing some of his raw pace due to a bout of injuries, he used his inswingers to great effect with the new ball and produced a cracker of a delivery to clean up Nissanka as his first international wicket. Mavi then came back to clip out the dangerous looking Hasaranga for a 10-ball 21 in his 3rd over of the innings.
At the fag end of the innings, he utilised his slower deliveries and change of pace, ultimately finishing with a stunning return of 4/22 on his debut courtesy of picking one more in his final over.
Umran Malik produces match-winning fiery spell
Umran Malik was at his full throttle at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday and what was heartening was the discipline with which he bowled those fast-paced deliveries. He didn’t give an inch to the Sri Lankan batters, showing he is a quick learner.
Not only did he cut the flow of runs, Malik got rewarded with wickets as well. Bowling at over 145 kph regularly, he made the ball talk and picked up the wickets of Charith Asalanka who can take the innings deep. Later, Malik accounted for the skipper Shanaka who looked set to pull off another heist for Sri Lanka.
In the end, Malik picked 2-27 in what was a match-winning spell for India.
What’s to Come
With the series at 1-0, the teams move to Pune for the 2nd T20I game to be held in two days’ time on January 5.