Kolkata: The rampaging Indian team, led by an in-form Virat Kohli cruised to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the one-off T20 held in Colombo on Wednesday. This was undoubtedly the last nail in the coffin for the hosts, who had earlier been blanked 3-0 and 5-0 in the Test and ODI series respectively.
Three formats, nine matches, five different captains and zero wins-describes the hell that the Sri Lankans have gone through. India on the flip side created a unique record as they became the first visiting team to whitewash the home side in all formats of the game. Head coach Ravi Shastri’s first stint with Kohli’s team as head coach couldn’t get off to a better start as the Indians ended the tour with an unimaginable 9-0 record in their favour.
Speaking of the match, Virat Kohli won the toss and put the Lankans into bat. Openers Upul Tharanga (5) and Niroshan Dickwella (17) helped Sri Lanka get off to a quick start, scoring 23 runs in just 2.2 overs before the skipper was sent back to the hut by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Dickwella soon followed suit as he was cleaned up by Jasprit Bumrah leaving the Lankans at 46/2.
But Dilshan Munaweera did not let the decent start go waste as he struck five fours and four sixes to score his maiden T20 fifty. He was the only batsman in the Sri Lankan line up who took the attack to the opposition, and helped Sri Lanka post 170 runs on the board. Ashan Priyanjan (40) was the other batter who hung around hitting two sixes and one four.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, despite conceding 43 runs in his four overs was the most successful bowler with three wickets. Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav too bowled with accuracy as he scalped two wickets conceding just 20 runs in his four overs.
With 171 runs to chase, the Indians lost openers KL Rahul (24) and Rohit Sharma (9) with 42 runs on the board. The hosts, having scalped two early wickets looked to exert pressure on the Indians but that wasn’t the case as skipper Kohli, along with Manish Pandey stitched a 119-run stand that completely turned the game in favour of the Indians and much like the entire tour, Sri Lanka ended up on the losing side yet again.
Virat Kohli, who was phenomenal with the bat in the ODI’s continued doing what he does best-tormenting the opposition with text-book cricketing shots and guiding a run-chase as he raced his way to a wonderful 82 of just 54 balls with seven fours and one six. With his fourth consecutive 50+ score in T20I’s against Sri Lanka, Kohli equalled his record of a similar feat he had achieved against Australia.
The man has been absolutely unstoppable to say the least as he pounced on every opportunity he got.
Kohli also registered the highest knock by an Indian skipper in T20I’s, surpassing Suresh Raina’s 72 against Zimbabwe in 2010.
He also became the second player to register an excess of 1000 runs (1016) in T20I chases fter Brendon McCullum (1006). The talismanic right-hander also became the fastest to score 15,000 international runs in 333 innings.
Manish Pandey, who has made good use of the limited chances he has got, once again rose to the ocassion and helped his skipper in guiding the chase as he finished off the match with a four, thereby scoring his maiden fifty in the shortest format. He remained unbeaten on 51 of just 36 balls.
It has been a complete tour for India. Although they were the favourites after they stepped foot on the island nation, winning every match of the tour is quite a big deal. They would be happy with MS Dhoni’s return to form and also with the youngsters like Chahal and Kuldeep, who have made full use of the opportunities that have come their way. The pace bowling unit too looks strong and to sum things up, the Indians would be a satisfied bunch at the end.
The story is completely different for Sri Lanka, who have only gone from bad to worse. Despite new additions to their squad, they hardly made a difference and everything in Sri Lankan cricket seems to be in shambles at the moment.
Man of the match-Virat Kohli