All-round performance seals India’s biggest T20 win

India innings (toss: Sri Lanka, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored 4s 6s Strike rate
R Sharma caught Chameera, bowled Mathews 17 (13) 2 0 130.76
L Rahul bowled T Perera 61 (48) 7 1 127.08
S Iyer caught Dickwella, bowled Pradeep 24 (20) 3 0 120.00
MS Dhoni not out 39 (22) 4 1 177.27
M Pandey not out 32 (18) 2 2 177.77
Batsmen who didn’t bat: H Pandya, D Karthik, J Bumrah, K Yadav, J Unadkat, Y Chahal
Extras: 7 (4 wides, 1 no-ball, 1 leg bye, 1 bye)
India’s total: 180/3 in 20 overs, at 9.00 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 38/1 (R Sharma, 4.6), 101/2 (S Iyer, 12.4), 112/3 (L Rahul, 14.3)
Sri Lanka bowling
Bowlers Overs Dot balls Runs Wickets  Economy
V Fernando 2 5 16 0 8.00
A Dananjaya 4 6 30 0 7.50
D Chameera 3 3 38 0 12.67
A Mathews 3 7 19 1 6.33
T Perera 4 3 37 1 9.25
N Pradeep 4 6 38 1 9.50
Sri Lanka innings (target: 181 runs in 20 overs, at 9.05 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored 4s 6s Strike rate
N Dickwella caught Rahul, bowled Unadkat 13 (8) 1 0 162.50
U Tharanga caught Dhoni, bowled Chahal 23 (16) 1 2 143.75
K Perera caught Dhoni, bowled Kuldeep 19 (28) 0 0 67.85
A Mathews caught and bowled Chahal 1 (7) 0 0 14.28
A Gunaratne stumped Dhoni, bowled Chahal 4 (4) 0 0 100.00
D Shanaka caught Pandya, bowled Kuldeep 1 (6) 0 0 16.66
T Perera stumped Dhoni, bowled Chahal 3 (4) 0 0 75.00
A Dananjaya caught and bowled Pandya 7 (7) 0 0 100.00
D Chameera caught Rahul, bowled Pandya 12 (14) 2 0 85.71
V Fernando caught Unadkat, bowled Pandya 2 (2) 0 0 100.00
N Pradeep not out 0 (0) 0 0 0.00
Extras: 2 (2 wides)
SL’s total: 87/10 in 16 overs, at 5.43 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 15/1 (N Dickwella, 1.4), 39/2 (U Tharanga, 4.5), 46/3 (A Mathews, 7.2), 55/4 (A Gunaratne, 9), 58/5 (D Shanaka, 10.2), 62/6 (T Perera, 11.1), 70/7 (K Perera, 12.4), 76/8 (A Dananjaya, 13.6), 85/9 (D Chameera, 15.4), 87/10 (V Fernando, 15.6)
India bowling
Bowlers Overs Dot balls Runs given Wickets Economy
H Pandya 4 10 29 3 7.25
J Unadkat 2 8 7 1 3.50
Y Chahal 4 12 23 4 5.75
J Bumrah 2 8 10 0 5.00
K Yadav 4 9 18 2 4.50

Man of the match:

Yuzvendra Chahal, for taking 4/23 in four overs and playing a starring role in India’s win.

Top scorer in the 1st T20:

Lokesh Rahul [61 off 48 balls, 7×4 and 1×6, strike rate 127.08]

Where was the 1st T20 won and lost?

At the moment and given the year they have had, Sri Lanka cannot do themselves any good. Whether the format is Twenty20, ODI or Test, Sri Lanka are too short on resources, confidence and exposure (considering the relative lack of experience in their line-ups) to be able to win matches by powering their way through. And as a cricket fan, you have to feel for them because, all said and done, you cannot question their attitude and the intention to play good cricket.

I am saying this in hindsight, but with their batting being the weak link, choosing to bat first (having won the toss) will not have been a bad decision. If anything, their strongest suit at this point will have had to deal with the pressure of defending a score and given how the bowling attack fared for large parts of the Indian innings, Sri Lanka might well have gone close. Yes, they factored in the obvious (the dew) when deciding to bowl first, but neither was the Cuttack pitch a batting paradise nor is Sri Lanka’s batting line-up good enough to chase 181 runs in 20 overs.

In the end, India coasted home to their biggest victory in terms of margin of runs in T20 International cricket (by 93 runs, the previous record was a win by 90 runs against England in 2012) on the back of the batting line-up collectively coming good and the bowling attack, which is also India’s strongest suit at the moment, doing its usual thing by taking wickets and strangling the opposition batsmen. All this even with Jaydev Unadkat making his international comeback and Hardik Pandya playing as one of the five main bowlers. The pitch, as we had seen in the Indian innings, played up and down and also did not facilitate stroke play with its two-paced nature. This was the reason India’s 180/3 in 20 overs was a huge score and put them firmly in the driver’s seat at the halfway point.

With the ball, Sri Lanka had begun quite well and enjoyed a decent powerplay in these circumstances, picking the wicket of Rohit Sharma and conceding 50 runs. They went on to have the better of India over the course of the next 10 overs as well, with India reaching only 119/3 at the end of 16 overs and giving the impression that they may at best reach a total of about 160. Angelo Mathews bowled a stump-to-stump line and made himself difficult to get away; Akila Dananjaya continued to befuddle the Indian batsmen with his bag of tricks that remains mysterious, and Thisara Perera succeeded in keeping the runs down as well, for a majority of his spell. Though they didn’t quite pick wickets in a heap, the Sri Lankan bowlers kept the runs down and exploited the conditions very well.

But all the good work until this point was undone by some wayward bowling in the last quarter of the innings (overs 17 to 20), with MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey scoring 61 runs and taking India to 180/3. Dhoni batted at No. 4 and though Pandey came in at No. 5 at the fall of Lokesh Rahul’s wicket in the 15th over, these two batsmen proved their critics wrong with clean striking and clever stroke play to find the gaps on the field. The three sixes they hit also helped matters. 19 runs came off the 17th over, 21 runs were scored off the 19th over and 12 runs were scored to cap off the innings. Rahul, in his comeback match, made a 48-ball 61 which gave India the platform to accelerate in the latter part of the innings. Fair to say that the 1st T20 pivoted on the final four overs of the Indian innings.

181 was likely to be an insurmountable target for the Sri Lankan batting line-up unless Upul Tharanga and the stroke-makers like Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne, and Thisara Perera came good. And with the Indian bowlers, seamers and spinners alike, mixing up the pace and bowling the right lines and lengths for this surface, Sri Lankan batsmen found the run-scoring to be tough. What impressed us all was the control exuded by the Indian bowlers: given the amount of dew, you expect a beamer or a few full-tosses to be delivered, but the Indian bowlers bowled with control and carried a wicket-taking threat throughout the innings. Sri Lanka were staggeringly bowled out for 87 in exactly 16 overs, the sort of defeat that will be tough to stomach, particularly with this being their 100th T20 International match.

Chahal picked 4/23 in his four overs and he was well-complemented by Kuldeep Yadav, who took 2/18 and bowled a miserly spell himself. Hardik Pandya had been expensive at the beginning of his spell, conceding 22 runs in his first two overs, but came back strongly to finish with figures of 3/29. Unadkat (1/7 in two overs) gave India the vital wicket of Dickwella in his very first over.

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