Sri Lanka levels T20I series 1-1 in a tight finish in 2nd game
After a day-long confusion on having the T20I series going ahead thanks to the covid related isolations in the Indian camp which took away 9 of their top players for the last two games, the 2nd T20I turned out to be a fight to the finish between two ravaged teams.
Sri Lanka won the toss and put India to bat. The Indians had 4 debutants, Devdutt Paddikal, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Nitish Rana and Chetan Sakariya. The team composition comprised of only 5 batsmen and 6 full-fledged bowlers. Sri Lanka was also without a couple of their injured players. Sri Lanka levels T20I series 1-1 in a tight finish in 2nd game.
Batting first India did start decently in the powerplay with Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaekwad adding 45 runs in 6 overs on a pitch that increasingly became difficult for strokeplay.
The Srilankans employed 8 bowlers in the innings and after India’s good start the spinners started to come into play with the ball coming slow off the pitch and gripping on the surface. Ruturaj (21) was first out after an impressive knock but the struggle started with Shikhar Dhawan getting out for 40 off 42 balls trying to sweep. Paddikal (29) impressed in patches but the lower order simply struggled to get any big hits as India managed to end at 132/5, surely at least 20 runs less.
For Lanka, Chameera (1/23) bowled quick and Akhila (2/29) came back strongly after a poor first over bowling skilfully. Hasaranga (1/30) with his flair and guile strangled the Indians.
In reply, Sri Lanka was gradually getting behind in the run rate as the Indian opening bowlers and Kuldeep (2/30) was skilfully utilising the conditions. Kuldeep had an lbw not review and a catch missed off his bowling but got top order player Bhanuka (36) and Shanaka (3) quickly while Aviskha (11) was superbly caught by Rahul Chahar at the boundary off Bhuvneshwar.
However from 66/4 in the 12th over both Dhananjaya D Silva and Hasaranga took the match in control. Hasaranga (15) after a useful cameo was caught at point off Rahul Chahar. Ramesh Mendis went cheaply but Karunaratne (12) during his 6 ball cameo struck a superb six off Bhuvneshwar in the 19th over that put the game in Sri Lanka’s favour.
With 8 runs required in the final over of the debutant Sakariya, man of the match Dhananjaya D Silva (40 not out off 34 balls) took Sri Lanka over the line with 2 balls to spare in a tight finish.
The Indian spinners were outstanding with Varun Chakravarthy (1/18), Kuldeep (2/30) and Rahul Chahar (1/27) effectively choking Srilanka in the middle overs
The Indians in the match were handicap by the presence of only 5 batsmen in their lineup as others were in isolation. It reflected in their approach as none of their batters could go for their shots at full tilt. However, considering the circumstances leading to the match, the Indians did reasonably well.
Sri Lanka took full advantage of the depleted Indian side in a close win. A great final match on the cards to decide the series.
Preview final T20I :
India will not make any changes to the team . Only 11 are available for selection apart from the net bowlers . Navdeep Saini has injured his shoulder towards the backend of 2nd match and hence might be replace by one of the net bowlers Ishan Porel , Sandeep Warrier or Arshdeep Singh .
Sri Lanka will want to keep their winning combination.
The pitch in the 2nd T20I was a sluggish one and tough for batters to score runs fluently. It remains to be seen whether a different strip is use for the 3rd T20I.
As for the weather forecast: A few showers are expected tonight.
Brief scores 2nd T20I
Sri Lanka won by 4 wkts
IND 132/5 (20 Ovs)
Devdutt Padikkal 29(23)
SL 133/6 (19.4 Ovs)
de Silva 40(34)
M Bhanuka(wk) 36(31)
Kuldeep Yadav 2/30