India came out with an all-round show in their third game of the ongoing Nidahas Trophy 2018 in Colombo and beat Sri Lanka by a comfortable margin of six wickets. It was Manish Pandey (43*) and Dinesh Karthik (39*), who steered the visitors during their run-chase of 153 in a rain-curtailed 19-over-a-side fixture at the R Premadasa Stadium. The Rohit Sharma-led side reached the target with 9 balls to spare.
With this win, India are now at the top of the table with 4 points 3 games, with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh following them.
During their run-chase India were off to a poor start. They lost Rohit Sharma early-on, who was picked by Akila Dananjaya. The leg-spinner got his second wicket soon, when Shikhar Dhawan, the man in form, lost his wicket trying to heave him over mid-wicket. With 22 for 2 in the fourth over, India were under a bit of pressure.
It was then KL Rahul and Raina took charge and steadied the ship. Rahul was playing the waiting game whereas Raina adopted his aggressive approach. During his knock of 15-ball 270, the left-hander slammed two fours and two sixes. Raina had a soft dismissal chipping a simple catch to Thisara Perera off Nuwan Pradeep.
Rahul, who came in the playing XI in place of Rishabh Pant, looked nervous yet played a sensible knock. Unfortunately, he created an unwanted Indian record to become the first batsman to get out hit-wicket in a T20 International. Jeevan Mendis after picking Rahul’s wicket went off the field due to nurse an injury.
Pandey batted quite sensibly to anchor India’s innings. He along with Karthik took India to safety with a 68-run stand for the fifth wicket, taking minimus risk.
Earlier. Sri Lanka batting first managed to cross the 150-run mark only thanks to Kusal Mendis’s blitz. He scored a 38-ball 55, that included 3 fours and as many sixes. For India, Shardul Thakur picked 4 crucial wickets to keep the home side in check. The off-spinner, Washington Sundar also picked two crucial scalps.
India will now play their final league game against Bangladesh on Wednesday. With two victories and a healthy run-rate (+0.0210), their place in the final is almost certain. But the team is not ready to take anything for granted. So, we can expect them to play their best side against the Tigers.
Sri Lanka 152 for 9 in 20 overs (Kusal Mendis 55, Upul Tharanga 22, Dasun Shanaka 19; Shardul Thakur 4 for 27, Washington Sundar 2 for 22) lost to India 153 for 4 (Manish Pandey 42*, Dinesh Karthik 39*; Akila Dananjaya 2 for 19) by 6 wickets.
Player of the match: Shardul Thakur