India 81 for 8 (Kuldeep 23*, Hasaranga 4-9) lost to Sri Lanka 82 for 3 (de Silva 23*, R Chahar 3-15) by seven wickets.
If every player who was selected in the squad deserved to be in the playing XI in the series, then there shouldn’t be any excuse from the Indian team after losing the T20I series against Sri Lanka on Thursday. After winning the first game, they have gone on to lose the next two games and thus lost the series as well. India lost three match T20I series to Sri Lanka by 2-1.
Shikhar Dhawan and Co. succumbed to India’s lowest ever T20 total against Sri Lanka on Thursday. They managed just 81/8 in the allotted 20 overs which incidentally is also their third-lowest total in T20Is. None of the batters looked comfortable as Wanindu Hasaranga spun a web around them. Kuldeep Yadav was the highest run scorer for India with 23 runs.
The bowlers tried hard but there wasn’t much to defend. Rahul Chahar picked three wickets to give India the slightest of hope. However, with such a low total on board, those were never going to be enough. Sri Lanka chased the total down in 14.3 overs.
The series win for Sri Lanka would be a major boost for their cricketing ambitions. This is Sri Lanka's 1st bilateral series win against India across formats since July 2008 which was when they beat India 2-1 in a home Test series. It will certainly be going to inspire many Sri Lankan cricketers who were watching it unfold at R Premadasa stadium.
Birthday boy Wanindu Hasaranga delivers yet again
World’s number two T20 bowler, Wanindu Hasaranga once again caught everyone’s attention with his leg breaks. Indian batsmen found him hard to pick not only in the final game but on the entire tour.
On Thursday, he completely broke the back of Indian batting line-up and denied India the opportunity of putting up a big score. He sent back both Sanju Samson and Ruturaj Gaikwad in a single over to leave India reeling at 25 for 4.
Claiming Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Varun Chakravarthy’s wicket later helped him finish with 4 wickets. He gave away just 9 runs in his four overs. Hasaranga made it extremely hard for India to develop any partnership. He was perhaps the difference between the sides and deserves all the praise. For his vital contribution, Wanindu Hasaranga was considered the Player of the Match as well as the Player of the Series.
Rahul Chahar pouncing on every opportunity as and when presented
Despite posting a low total, Team India sensed a bit of hope during the second innings, thanks to a sensational spell from Rahul Chahar. The Indian spinner’s control over his line and length was there to see. He wasn’t afraid to consistently pitch flighted deliveries and it gave him the rewards too.
He broke Sri Lanka’s opening partnership in the sixth over with the wicket of Avishka Fernando and then sent back the second opener Minod Bhanuka in his next over. On his last ball of his spell, he dismissed Samarawickrama to finish with sensational figures of 3 for 15 in 4 overs.
Chahar has made a telling impression in whatever opportunities he was presented in the series. He picked three for 54 in the only ODI he played on the tour. Chahar is certainly a future star for Indian cricket. For now, he would be aiming to find a slot in the India’s T20 World Cup squad. Whether he would be able to make it or not, only time will tell. Read Here: India vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I - Suryakumar’s 50, Bhuvneshwar’s 4-for seals it for India
Shikhar Dhawan and Sanju Samson's below par performances cast shadow over their World T20 place
For Shikhar Dhawan, this was the most important series to present his case for the T20 World Cup. Dhawan finished as the highest run-getter in the T20 series, making 86 runs in 3 games. He went for a duck in the final T20 before scoring 46 and 40 in the first two. But the runs were scored at a comparatively low strike rate of 108.86.
Dhawan is surely a very important member of the limited overs set up and has been in tremendous Nick in this year's IPL as well. But the followers of the game expect more power-packed performances from him to deliver the crucial blows for India at the top of the order. His place in the T20 World Cup would also depend on how he performs in the upcoming IPL.
Sanju Samson has been really inconsistent and needs to elevate his game along with developing a more serious approach to reap any benefits in his international career. He scored just 34 runs in the three innings he got to play in this series. With Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan around, it is frankly very tough for Samson to make the final cut for the T20 World Cup.
As a side note, it is noteworthy that India's mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy performed at a decent click in the opportunities presented to him. He took 1-28, 1-18 and 0-15 in his three outings. The selectors would be keen to look at him during the IPL before making a call on his World T20 slot.
India's next T20I assignment
India's T20 squad's next major assignment is going to be the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held between October 17 and November 14 later this year. Read More: India vs England Test 2021 - Virat Kohli would hope to replicate 2018 form