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​Batsmen power India to series-levelling 69-run victory

Shikhar Dhawan’s half-century takes host to 196/6 before bowlers do their bit, keeping Sri Lanka to 127/9

​Batsmen power India to series-levelling 69-run victory - Cricket News
India, led by R Ashwin, combined to keep Sri Lanka to 127 for 9 when time ran out.
A return to more familiar conditions resulted in a more familiar – and expected – show from India, which squared the three-match Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka with a convincing 69-run victory in the second game in Ranchi on Friday (February 12).
 
India’s batsmen, coming on the back of a dismal performance in Pune, made merry in friendly conditions to post a massive 196 for 6 despite a late hat-trick from Thisara Perera. Then, its bowlers, led by R Ashwin (3 for 14), combined to keep Sri Lanka to 127 for 9 when time ran out.
 
India’s innings was powered by Shikhar Dhawan, who blasted a 25-ball 51, while Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina played their parts too.


 
India also ticked an important box ahead of the upcoming ICC World T20, with Hardik Pandya proving his hitting abilities with 27 from 12 balls from No. 5.
 
Sri Lanka once again won the toss and opted to field, but if Kasun Rajitha had any dreams of doing an encore of his debut performance, he was brought down to earth in no time. Rohit slapped the first ball of the innings for a boundary over point to set the tone, but after that, the next few overs were all about Dhawan.
 
He announced his intentions with a typical whip over the on-side boundary off Thisara and followed it up with three more fluent drives off Rajitha. Dinesh Chandimal turned to spin within the Power Play overs, but Dhawan was in the mood. He welcomed Sachithra Senanayake with a slog-swept six and followed it up with two more pulls to the fence.
 
Rohit calmly rotated strike at the other end and, before Sri Lanka could realise what had hit it, India had raced to 70 without loss in the Power Play.
 
Dhawan blitzed past his maiden T20I half-century off just 22 balls before he nicked Dushmantha Chameera to Chandimal behind the stumps in the last ball of the seventh over.
 
The arrival of Ajinkya Rahane and the end fielding restrictions led to a slight dip in run rate. The pitch suddenly seemed a lot different and the bowling tighter. Sri Lanka kept things quiet with spin at both ends and India managed just one boundary in the five overs after Dhawan’s dismissal.


 
It led to a bit of pressure, which in turn resulted in wickets. Chameera first foxed Rohit with a slow leg-cutter and took a stunning return catch diving full stretch to his right, and then Senanayake ended Rahane’s struggles soon.
 
The Ranchi crowd waited eagerly for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to walk in, but it was Pandya, who got a promotion. He made the most of it.
 
Pandya started briskly by hitting Thisara over mid-wicket and then slammed Senanayake for two massive sixes on the leg-side. At the other end, Raina did what Raina does so well in this format, and the partnership raced past 50 in just 23 balls.
 
Against the run of play, Thisara got a hat-trick in the 19th over, dismissing Pandya, Raina and Yuvraj Singh, for a duck. India still managed to get close to 200.
 
Rajitha was the most expensive Sri Lankan bowler, conceding 45 runs from four wicketless overs.
 
Dhoni handed the new ball to Ashwin, and the off-spinner duly obliged his captain’s call, deceiving Tillakaratne Dilshan with the first legal ball of the innings – after the first delivery was a wide down the leg side – for Dhoni to complete a sharp stumping.
 
Sri Lanka handed Seekkuge Prasanna a promotion to No. 3 but the move backfired as he chipped Ashish Nehra’s first ball to mid-off. Danushka Gunathilaka joined him soon, nicking Nehra behind, leaving Sri Lanka reeling at 16 for 3 with a mountain to climb.
 


Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedara had batted smartly in a modest chase in Pune but were left with too much to do this time. They added a steady 52 for the fourth wicket, but with India strangling them with spin – Jasprit Bumrah didn’t bowl till the 15thover – the asking rate soared.
 
Ravindra Jadeja ended the faintest hopes of a Sri Lankan comeback in the 12th over, when he dismissed Kapugedara and Chandimal off successive deliveries. Kapugedara holed out to long-on, while Chandimal was undone by stunning glove-work from Dhoni, another stumping with the batsman’s back foot barely off the ground.
 
The rest was a mere formality.

Please click here to review the match in full in the ICC Match Centre

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