Sri Lanka, July 25: Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Suryakumar Yadav emerged as match winners as the Indian Cricket Team recorded a clinical 38 win over Sri Lanka in the opening T20I here at R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday (July 25).
Bhuvneshwar returned with a four-for while Suryakumar slammed a brilliant half-century as India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. Having set a target of 165 for the hosts to chase, Indian bowlers produced a clinical show and bundled the Sri Lankans out for 126 in 18.3 overs.
Sri Lankans were off to a brisk start in the run chase as their openers Minod Bhanuka and Avishka Fernando stitched a partnership of 23 runs for the first wicket. Captain Shikhar Dhawan introduced spinner Krunal Pandya in the attack in the third over after strike pacers Bhuvneshwar and Deepak Chahar failed to pick up wickets in their first overs. Krunal gave his team the first breakthrough as he dismissed Bhanuka for 10.
Later, Dhawan introduced Yuzvendra Chahal in the attack soon after the powerplay overs were finished and wrist-spinner made struck immediately when he clean bowled Dhananjaya de Silva for 9.
The hosts suffered their major jolt when in form Fernando was removed for 26 by Bhuvneshwar while trying to hit the Indian pacer. He was caught in the deep by Sanju Samson. Ashen Bandara (9) was clean bowled by Hardik Pandya.
Later, Charith Asalanka - who was looking for the most dangerous Sri Lankan batsman in the run chase - was dismissed for 44 by Deepak Chahar when the scorecard read nelson. Sri Lankans lost their sixth wicket on nelson when Wanindu Hasaranga was clean bowled for a duck by Chahar in that very over.
Later, Bhuvneshwar and debutant Varun Chakravarthy kept the pressure on Sri Lankan batters who kept trailing in the run chase and eventually they were restricted to 126.
Bhuvneshwar was awarded the player of the match for his performance with the ball. Talking about his performance during the post-match presentation, the right-arm Uttar Pradesh quick said, "I executed what I wanted to and I am satisfied. I played ODIs after a few months but the execution is really important for me. The wicket was difficult to bat against the spinners."
India captain Dhawan was equally impressed with the way his teammates performed despite they scored 10-15 runs short while batting first.
"I thought we were 10-15 runs short. I feel we played quite well after losing early wickets. It was about one or two boundaries, we knew we could get going."
Praising Suryakumar Yadav for his brilliant half-century, which laid a foundation for India's first innings total of 164 after being invited to bat first. "He (SKY) is a great player and we enjoy watching him bat. He took the pressure from me and the way he plays calculated shots was amazing to watch."
The skipper also lauded the rest of the bowlers for putting up a clinical effort and said: "They were playing well, we knew our spinners will do the job on that wicket. Bhuvi bowled well, so was KP. Everyone stood up and even Varun too playing his first match did well giving a few runs and got the wicket. Prithvi is playing well and he is going to bounce back stronger. He's (Varun) difficult to pick, I am very happy for him."
Earlier in the day, after winning the toss, Sri Lankan bowlers restricted the tourists to 164 for 5 in the stipulated 20 overs. Apart from Surya (50 off 34), Dhawan (46 off 36), Sanju Samson (27 off 20) made valuable contribution with the bat. Hardik (10) was ineffective as he failed to live up to his reputation. However, Ishan Kishan (20*) and Krunal Pandya (3*) helped the tourists post 164 for 5 batting first.
For Sri Lanka, Dushmantha Chameera (2 for 24) was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up wickets of Prithvi Shaw (0) and Hardik at a critical juncture. Shaw was dismissed for a first-ball duck on his T20I debut as he was caught behind by Bhanuka off Chameera. Wanindu Hasaranga also bowled well to return with the figures of 2 for 28. The second T20I will now be played on July 27 and both the teams would be aiming for a win.