Colombo, March 12: Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar shined with the ball and Manish Pandey produced another clinical batting effort as India decimated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the rain-hit fourth T20I of the Nidahas Trophy 2018 here on Monday (March 12).
Chasing a rather easy total of 153 from the 19 overs, India overhauled it for the loss of four wickets and 9 balls to spare. Pandey (42* off 31 balls, 3 fours and 1 six) and Dinesh Karthik (39* off 25) forged an unbeaten partnership of 62 for the fifth wicket as the visitors cruised quite comfortably home and reached at the top of the points table in the tri-nation series.
Suresh Raina (27 off 15) and KL Rahul (18 off 17) too played a cameo before getting dismissed in the course of the run chase after openers Rohit Sharma (11) and Shikhar Dhawan (8) were dismissed cheaply by mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya.
Manish Pandey looked secure and composed, and showed fine awareness of the situation. And Karthik has been the classiest Indian batsman today.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 12, 2018
Openers' departure early on put India in a spot of bother but another aggressive cameo from Raina ensured the visitors kept scoring runs. Raina was dismissed while attempting to slog Thisara Perera after already hit him for a maximum. Lokesh Rahul, who made it to the side after some gap, was looking settled before he was dismissed hit-wicket in an unlucky fashion. The Karnataka batsman, thus, became first Indian batsman to be out hit-wicket in the T20Is, and ninth overall.
Earlier, Indian bowlers made a brilliant comeback to restrict Sri Lanka to 152/9 after being hammered for runs in the first ten overs in the match reduced to 19 overs each side. India have now returned to the winning ways and ensured they are a dominant side amongst the three sides, despite being a second-string squad.
Pacer Shardul Thakur (4/27) and Washington Sundar (2/21) were the pick of the bowlers as visitors ensured they do not have too much on the board to chase. At one stage, the hosts seemed to be headed towards 180-plus in the game cut short to 19 overs each side.
Since his return, Karthik’s stocks are on a rise...finishing games off...staying not out till the end. Today, took pressure off Pandey ji too. #SLvIND— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) March 12, 2018
Thakur was named the man of the match for his career-best effort. He was hammered by the Sri Lankan batsmen when these two sides locked horns in the first game, but this time the Mumbaikar came back strongly and impressed all with his variations.
Opener Kusal Mendis (55 off 38) continued his brilliant form with the bat and hammered his fourth fifty in the last five games.
The hosts looked headed towards a massive total as long as he was present at the crease but Indian bowlers particularly spinners i.e. Sundar and Chahal (1/34) ensured the hosts didn't score too much in the second half of the innings.
India skipper Rohit Sharma won a crucial toss and invited Sri Lanka's stand-in captain Thisara Perera to bat first as the team's chasing have been winning the games in this series.
Washington Sundar has been excellent: holding his nerve, control over line and length, clever variations despite the threat of big hitting by the Lankan batsmen. He's kept India in the game— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 12, 2018
The match began after drizzle forced the toss to be delayed by almost one and a half hour. Sri Lanka were forced to make the change to their side as Suranga Lakmal replaced skipper Dinesh Chandimal. Chandimal has been suspended for two games for slow over-rate in the previous game against Bangladesh.
A win in this game has ensured Rohit and company will now reach the finals comfortably, though there is still one more game for them to play.