Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka reckoned that his side put themselves in a great position by restricting India to 164, but rued the inability of the batsmen to knock off a ‘chaseable target’. Chasing 165, the Lankans fell 38 runs short of the target, with only two batsmen scoring over 20.
Having convincingly won the third ODI, Sri Lanka began the first T20I in a confident manner, and delivered a hammer blow on the very first ball of the match, dismissing Prithvi Shaw. Though India recovered post the dismissal of Shaw, Sri Lanka kept taking wickets at regular intervals, and an exceptional performance at the death saw the hosts restrict India to just 164.
In response, the hosts moved ahead of the game in the powerplay, but lost their way in the middle overs. Barring debutant Asalanka, no batsman got going, and despite the required run rate not going out of control until the last 4 overs, the Lankans failed to hurt the visitors, eventually folding for a mere 126 with 9 balls left in their innings.
It was a disappointing showing with the bat from Sri Lanka, and skipper Dasun Shanaka reckoned that the batsmen were to blame for the defeat, with him labelling the target a chaseable one.
“164 was chaseable on this wicket. Bowlers up front started well but our batsmen faltered,” Shanaka said in the post match presentation.
The Sri Lankan skipper further felt that the wickets of Dhananjaya de Silva and Ashen Bandara proved to be ‘turning points’. The two right-handers failed to get going, combinedly scoring 18 off 29 balls, and Shanaka reckoned that SL could have chased the target down had one of the two batters built on their slow start.
“Asalanka and Bandara's wicket was the turning point for us,” the Lankan skipper said.
While a vast majority of the batsmen disappointed, that was not the case with the bowlers, who choked the visiting batsmen. Barring Akila Dananjaya, no Sri Lankan bowler erred on the day, and Shanaka lavished praise on them for taking the fight to the visitors.
“I thought our bowlers did an amazing job on this wicket,” Shanaka said.
The second of the three T20Is will be played on Tuesday, July 27th, in Colombo.