Brief Scores: India 186/3 (17.1) (S Iyer 74*, R Jadeja 45*, L Kumara 2-31) beats Sri Lanka 183/5 (20) (P Nissanka 75, D Shanaka 47*, J Bumrah 1-24, Y Chahal 1-27) by 7-wickets.
After a comprehensive win in the first T20I in Lucknow, the men in blue aimed for another series win with a victory in the 2nd T20I at Dharamshala. The first game was a 360-degree performance from the entire Indian unit. The Indian skipper didn’t make any change in the squad, while Sri Lanka made two changes for the 2nd T20I, and brought Binura Fernando and Danushka Gunathilaka for the game.
The 22-yards at Dharamshala
The pitch being under the cover most of the time due to rain was expected to have some moisture. The nice covering of grass meant that the ball came nicely on the bat, but the chances of rain looming over the game made the Indian skipper who won the toss elect to bowl first in the game.
Bowlers hold SL openers below 6 RPO in the powerplay
Even though the visiting captain, Dasun Shanaka had demanded more consistency and intent from the top order, the outcome faired contrasting. Both SL openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Pathum Nissanka approached the Sri Lanka innings rather sluggishly despite having India’s DRS call in their favor in just the 2nd over of their innings.
Overs were ticking and dry runs in the first six overs were creating pressure on the Sri-Lankan openers. They did free their arms by going down against Harshal Patel for a couple of boundaries, managing to yield only 32-runs during the powerplay. Sri Lanka’s score after six overs was 32/0, with both the openers on the crease.
Indian bowlers strangle SL’s batting lineup, dented run-flow
As soon as the powerplay got over, both the openers picked pace and brought up their 50-run opening partnership. Gunathilaka targeted Ravindra Jadeja, who came to bowl his 2nd over and hammered him for successive 6,4 & 6, before fending the ball to Venkatesh Iyer, who grabbed an excellent running catch at the long-on in the subsequent delivery of the same over. Gunathilaka departed after scoring 38 runs off 29 deliveries as Jadeja had the last laugh picking up his first wicket.
Shortly, the visitors lost another wicket, again falling prey to the spinner, but this time to Yuzvendra Chahal, who trapped the last match half-centurion Charith Asalanka Leg before wickets at a low score. Despite a decent start, SL’s innings collapsed to 71/2 at the halfway stage.
Nissanka rose on the occasion, scored his fifth T20I half-century
Soon, Harshal Patel joined the wicket-taking party by dismissing the new batter Kamil Mishara (1 runs off 4 balls) cheaply with a slower delivery. Sri Lanka was struggling to have big hitters in the middle who could settle and get the runs to flow intact. However, after a few silent overs, Nissanka took the charge and stood tall to score a few runs and reached his fifth T20I half-century. He found gaps for boundaries and charged down against Harshal Patel and Jasprit Bumrah strategically for clearing the ball for fours and sixes. Jasprit Bumrah did take down Dinesh Chandimal (9 runs off 10 balls), but it was Nissanka’s day for him to go unspared. Although Indian bowlers managed to keep SL’s run rate in control as the visitor’s scorecard read103-4 after 15-overs.
Nissanka-Shanaka propelled Sri-Lanka to 183/5 after 20-overs
After having procured fifty in style, Nissanka was aiming to go big to post a good total on the board. Captain Dasun Shanaka provided him the much-asked-for assistance with his fierce approach. SL skipper joined the run-scoring wagon and hammered Indian bowlers for sixes in the Dharamshala night sky.
The powerful batting in the slog overs continued even against Jasprit Bumrah as SL grabbed 14-runs off Bumrah’s last over. The partnership between Shanaka and Nissanka prospered to 50 runs in just 22-balls, as Indian bowlers failed to keep both the batters at bay in the death overs. But, finally, Bhuvneshwar Kumar broke the ominous partnership by trapping Nissanka leg before wicket on 75 runs off 53 deliveries.
But Shanaka’s two back-to-back sixes to end the innings fired Sri-Lanka to a massive 183/5 after 20-overs as India leaked 72-runs in the last four overs.
Sri Lanka bowlers inflict two early jolts to India
Good times continued for the opponents as Dushmantha Chameera dismissed Indian captain Rohit Sharma for the fifth time; Rohit played the short ball onto his stumps and departed for just one run on his second delivery. New batter Shreyas Iyer came to the crease to pair for another left-right combination. He looked positive since his arrival on the crease, while Ishan Kishan managed to find lucky scoring boundaries off edges.
Soon after, Ishan Kishan suffered a hit on the helmet off Lahiru Kumara’s delivery and looked a bit shaky and eventually got undone by the pace and departed for 16 runs off 15 balls. Nonetheless, Iyer didn’t stand back as he cracked three boundaries to stable India at 45/2 at the end of the powerplay.
Iyer-Samson recover for early loss; India 153/3 after 15-overs
The runs were dried up as the asking run rate touched almost 11 runs per over. Shreyas Iyer switched the gear and started with his carnage. He sent the ball out of the park on consecutive deliveries. The14-run over followed by 10- from Shanaka stabled India’s chase as the scorecard read up 80/2 after 10 overs.
Iyer carried the carnage as he raised another fifty with a thumping six; on all the little chances he received, he had stood out on most occasions. It was almost a confirmed position for Iyer now in the eleven. From the other end, Sanju Samson changed his color with so many extraordinary shots; Sri-Lankan fielders lacked in the fielding department.
Sanju Samson too started his fireworks as he attacked Lahiru Kumara for 23 runs in the 13th over, but departed in the same over when Binura Fernando picked a stormer at the deep slip. Samson departed at 39 runs off 25 deliveries, but he along with Iyer had almost sailed the side towards the victory. New batter Ravindra Jadeja arrived in the middle and kept the momentum flowing as India raced up to 153/3 after 15-overs as the required rate was just over 6.
Ravindra Jadeja-Shreyas Iyer advanced India to a series victory
The 16th over began with a six, helped by the worst fielding while the next three balls were crunched for boundaries as Ravindra Jadeja aimed to finish the game early. India inched towards another successive win and close to series victory almost at the lightning speed.
With a straight boundary, Jadeja advanced India to a series victory. India chased down 184 runs with 17 balls to spare. Shreyas Iyer top-scored with 74* off 44 deliveries, while Jadeja remained unbeaten on 45* runs off 18 deliveries as India’s final scorecard read 186/3 in 17.1 overs. Iyer lifted the Player of the Match award for his knock that helped India take a 2-0 lead another T20I series win.
What to look forward to
With the series already in the bag, India may love to give chances to a few new players and also provide some rest to the Test players; Sri-Lanka on the other hand would want to earn some pride going into the red-ball series starting from March 4.
The last T20 will be on the following day, the 27th of February.
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