After the washed-out opener in Guwahati, the crowd hoped the second game would prove to be value for their money, with India chasing. Following Sri Lanka’s disappointment, the onus was on Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli to entertain the audience as India chased down 143 with 15 balls to spare.
The tone for the game was set when Sri Lanka were put in to bat on what seemed like a 170-run wicket yet the Lankans struggled to get off to a good start. Slowly yet steadily, the pressure crept to no avail as Sri Lankan batsmen believed in harakiri more than building the innings. Losing wicket at regular interval meant that they never had the platform to have the late surge that could take them to a 160-170 kind of score at the Holkar Stadium. A triple boundary last over certainly took them to a total 142, on a track which looked gorgeous to bat on.
In reply, India got off the best of starts with KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan laying the platform for the middle-order batsmen to exploit. While Rahul was the aggressor in the partnership, Dhawan anchored the innings to hold an end. Following their dismissal, the duo of Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer took over the mantle as they smacked the Lankan bowlers across the ground for an easy victory.
Oshada Fernando’s uncultured charge at Kuldeep Yadav was one point where Sri Lanka lost the plot of their batting order. If the right-hander had just held on to the dear crease, Kusal Perera might have taken them to a bigger total on the day. It was a great delivery aided by the poor choice of a shot from Oshada, which was the difference between 142 and a 160 on a track that was good to bat.
Highs and Lows
Navdeep Saini’s performance was the biggest positive that India could take from the 2nd T20I against Sri Lanka. The lanky right-arm pacer was on the mark with his pace, line and length as he choked the Sri Lankan batsmen in the middle overs. In particular, the over he bowled following the powerplays, the seamer was breathing fire with an inch-perfect yorker dislodging both Gunathilaka and the stump off their groove.
Oshada Fernando was a disappointment in the game, a massive one for the visiting Sri Lankan side who were hoping that he would put on a mature performance. When he entered the crease, the visitors were already 2 down and needed a partnership between Oshada and Kusal Perera to take them to a respectable target. However, he gave it away going for a wild hoick missing Kuldeep Yadav’s wrong-un completely, show his maturity or the lack of one in this case.
Powerplay exploitation: - Sri Lanka (5/10) and India (7/10)
Despite getting six runs off the first delivery in the innings, the Sri Lankan openers had a lacklustre powerplay on a batting-friendly track at the Holkar Stadium. Only Avishka Fernando scored a boundary every over in the powerplay before he was dismissed by Washington Sundar. At the end of the powerplay, the visitors had piled up just 48 runs, putting them in dire need of runs during the sluggish part of the innings.
India, on the other hand, had the blueprint on how to bat in a chase, with Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul scoring 54 runs following the first six overs. Rahul, in particular, was aggressive in his shot-making, scoring 38 runs off 22 balls while Dhawan held on the other end scoring run a ball for his 14 runs. A really watchful partnership between the duo, knowing that the Indian skipper was yet to bat.
Death Bowling: - Sri Lanka (3/10) and India (9/10)
Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, it never reached the death overs to test their depth with the bowling. Kohli and Iyer ensured that the visiting bowling attack was not spared, crashing them to all parts of the ground. While Iyer aimed for the upper tier, Kohli’s fancy footwork and neat timing got the ball across to the square leg boundary as they scored 45 runs in the last four overs.
India absolutely gobsmacked the Sri Lankan batters in the death overs with the barrage of short balls and yorkers. Picked up a wicket every over, restricted the runs and more importantly choked the Sri Lankan lower order as they restricted them to a meagre total of 142 with the exception of the 12 runs over from Jasprit Bumrah.
Ground Fielding and Catching: - Sri Lanka (3/10) and India (4/10)
Sri Lanka gave India a run for their money on who would field worse on the day, with multiple misfields in just the powerplay. Despite the futile attempt from Isuru Udana, who dived full length to save a boundary, the others flocked around and fielded like a bunch of headless chickens on the field.
Well with the exception of the 3rd T20I against West Indies in Mumbai, India’s fielding display has been poor in the home season. The trend did not stop there, it continued to this game against Sri Lanka where Shreyas Iyer, of all people, missed one of the easiest run-outs at home by throwing it down at the wrong end when Perera was in tango. Kohli, too, later in the innings dropped a catch off Yadav as India’s poor day on the field continued.
Spectator Rating Meter - Good
To be honest, this game was a dull-one for the crowd, with both sides playing ever-so-slowly. However, towards the latter half of the Indian innings, Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli ensured that the home fans got value for their money in an otherwise boring game in Indore.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi