India came up with a brilliant all-round performance against Sri Lanka at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi on Friday to win the second T20 by 69 runs. Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin were the standout players for India in the second T20, which helped the hosts level the series 1-1.
This result was a perfect revenge for India, who were comprehensively beaten by Sri Lanka in the first T20, which also questioned their ability to handle some quality seamers on a bowler friendly pitch. However, India batsmen looked determined while facing Sri Lanka bowlers in Ranchi as they amassed a massive total of 196 runs.
With such a total on the board, India were always on the frontfoot even before the second innings got underway. Sri Lanka were required to score at nearly 10 runs per over, which was always going to be a difficult task, especially with their not-so-experienced batting lineup.
Sri Lanka would have banked on their most experienced batsman, Tilakratne Dilshan, to come up with a perfect start, but the visitors were left disappointed as the right-hander was dismissed by Ashwin in the first legal ball of the second innings. They lost Seekkuge Prasanna in the second over itself, which made India's total look even more gigantic.
Things did not get any better for Sri Lanka, who, despite some decent efforts from Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera, lost wickets at regular intervals. Sri Lanka were soon tottering at 68 for the loss of five wickets, and the writing was clear on the wall for the visitors.
Sri Lanka, after losing Chandimal and Kapugedera in quick succession, only had pride left to play for in Ranchi. But, the rest of the Lankan batsmen were not giving up as Milinda Siriwardana and Dasun Shanaka threw their bat around to at least bring some respectability to the score.
All the India bowlers bowled well in Ranchi. Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers, picking three wickets, while Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra scalped two wickets each.
However, the match had already been set for an India win by the batsmen, primarily Dhawan, who gave India a solid start with some fine hitting in the first six overs. Dhawan, who was dismissed in the seventh over, had already done his work after an amazing 25-ball 51, which paved the way for India to come up with a huge total.
Each and every batsmen in the top order contributed to the team's total. Rohit Sharma, who has been in terrific form of late, also scored a 36-ball 43. However, Dhoni should be applauded for his decision to promote Hardik Pandya up the batting order to number five, as he did not let the captain down, scoring a cameo of 27 runs from 12 balls. Pandya was also well supported by Suresh Raina, who was one of the victims of Thisara Perera's hat-trick, even if that particular feat came with the final Indian score never in doubt.
With this victory, the third T20 has gained immense importance as India can clinch the series on Sunday.
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