After a closely fought Test and ODI series (surprisingly), Sri Lanka headed into the 3-match T20 series with loads of confidence, so much so that their captain ThisaraPerera was confident of his side bouncing back and clinching the T20 series. Unfortunately though, the visitors ran into a Rohit Sharma led side wanting to make sure that on this occasion, there were no hiccups in putting away the opposition.
1stT20 –The ‘Spin Duo’ weave their magic, again!
After winning the toss at Cuttack and putting the hosts into bat first, with dew being the primary factor influencing the game, the Sri Lankans were well on their way to restricting the strong Indian batting line to a score of below 160, with India finding themselves at a below par 119-3 at the end of 16 overs. It was after this stage that the visitors lost the plot, and Dhoni and Pandey only added to their misery, scoring 61 runs off the last 4 overs. The target was always going to be hard to get, but none would have expected the Lankans to go down so easily. After the dismissal of Tharanga, it went all downhill for the visitors as the spin duo of Kuldeep and Chahal spun India to a 93-run victory, their largest ever in T20 Internationals.
2nd T20 – The Hitman show, yet again!
Ask any Sri Lankan about Rohit Sharma, be it a cricketer or any fan, their response will be the same – that they hate the sight of Rohit batting against them! After a century in the Test series and a double hundred in the ODIs, Rohit wasn’t done there, as he blazed his way to the joint fastest century in T20 International cricket. He smashed the bowlers all over the park as the popular phrase ‘The fielders became spectators and the spectators became fielders’ was actually on show at Indore! With Rahul (89) providing able support from the other end, the duo propelled India to a massive 260-5 at the end of 20 overs. Even the most optimistic of Sri Lankan fans would have known that the target was unassailable. Though the pair of Tharanga and KusalPerera showed a glimmer of promise, the Lankans ultimately perished for 172, succumbing to a 88-run defeat.
3rd T20 –Youngsters come good for India :
With the final T20 being played at the Wankhede, all eyes were on the local boy Rohit Sharma to carry on his scintillating form. However, debutant Washington Sundar and Jaydev Unadkat stole the show with some terrific bowling. Once the visitors were put into bat, they never really got going on a Wankhede pitch that was offering some extra bounce for the bowlers, courtesy some tight bowling by the Indian bowlers. A mere 136 was all that the Indians had to chase thanks to economical spells from Sundar and Unadkat, who conceded 22 and 15 runs respectively, scalping 3 wickets between them. At the start of their defense of a relatively easy total to chase, Sri Lankan bowlers gave the Indian batsmen no room to score easy runs, as the Indian batsmen struggled to time the ball well. Ultimately, the experience of Dinesh Karthik and veteran Dhoni proved to be enough as they guided the hosts to a 5-wicket win.
Most Runs – Rohit Sharma 162 runs at an average of 54.
Most Wickets – Yuzvendra Chahal 8 wickets at an average of 9.38
Man of the Series- Jaydev Unadkat 4 wickets at an economy of 4.89
Fifth Umpire Champion of the Series- KL Rahul 154 runs at an average of 51.33.
Though India had rested few experienced players and had given the youngsters an opportunity, the Lankans hardly gave a fight to test the hosts. It seemed a bit too easy as India clinched the series 3-0, which further proved their dominance over their Asian visitors. Sri Lanka lost 27 wickets in all while scalping only 13 wickets.
INDIA – The Midas Touch
The Rohit Sharma led India had made things far too easy. KL Rahul had gone onto add serious selection headaches with 154 runs averaging 51. The middle order had a fairly good go at the Sri Lankan bowling. The Indian camp will be pleased with Hardik Pandya’s show with the ball with 6 scalps at an average of 12.83. Washington Sundar has definitely done well with an economy of 5.50 and a wicket to attract big bucks at the IPL auction table.The comprehensive win pushed India into the second spot in the T20 rankings as well.
SRI LANKA – The Landslide
Sri Lanka was in no position to challenge India in a T20 series. The leading run scorer for the Lankans was Kusal Perera who compiled 100 runs, 77 of which came in one innings. The aggressive T20 pair of Niroshan Dickwela and Asela Gunarathne average 13 each letting Sri Lanka down. Newly appointed skipper Thisara Perera had very little to say at the end of the series and Sri Lanka as a whole had a series to forget.