Updated: March 6, 2018 11:49:17 pm
At the presentation ceremony, Kusal Perera said, “This is my best innings, but I had better innings as well.” He wasn’t wrong about it being one of his best innings and the fact that it came against a team that had proven to be Sri Lanka’s nemesis of late only added to the beauty of the knock. The 66 runs from 37 balls had provided the impetus that they needed in the 175 run chase. At the other end of the spectrum, Thisara Perera provided the rapid-fire finish with 22 runs from 10 balls to nullify India’s 174/5 in the first innings which was instigated by Shikhar Dhawan’s 90.
India were put to bat by the Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal but had a disappointing start to the proceedings. Stand-in captain Rohit Sharma was sent back in the first over for a duck by Dushmantha Chameera. The visitors were then pushed on the backfoot after they suffered another blow when Suresh Raina was cleaned up for 1 by Nuwan Pradeep. India were then 9/2 with two of the most experienced T20 batsmen back in the hut.
But the early fall of wickets didn’t really affect Shikhar Dhawan’s scoring rate. Dhawan along with Manish Pandey held the innings together and the left-right batting duo put on a partnership of 95 runs for the third wicket. Pandey was eventually undone for 37 off 35 by Jeevan Mendis while Dhawan went on to score a valiant 90 in 49 deliveries.
Sri Lanka didn’t start the chase well as they lost opener Kusal Mendis early in the innings. But Kusal Perera, who was in at number three, took on the Indian bowling attack and hammered them all around the park. Perera went on to score a 37-ball 66 that included six boundaries and four maximums before Washington Sundar had him stumped in the 13th over but the damage was done.
Perera’s wicket came pretty late for India. While Kusal Perera played the anchor’s role, it was Thisara Perera’s late surge that led Sri Lanka to a comprehensive win over India. He scored an unbeaten 22 in 10 balls.
Kusal Perera goes after Shardul Thakur
Kusal Perera had revealed his intentions pretty early. In the third over of the innings, he went after Shardul Thakur to smash 27 runs. The first three balls went to the boundary while the fourth one was hammered away for a six. Thakur then bowled a no-ball that was again hammered away to the fence. The legitimate penultimate ball brought more misery to his bowling economy rate as Perera scored another boundary on this one.
India will now play Bangladesh on Thursday.
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