Explosive Iyer Helps India Seal T20I Series At 2-0 Against Sri Lanka!

Shreyas Iyer, one of the most promising youngsters for India in all formats, picked up his second consecutive and equally explosive half-century (in 31 balls) to guide India to a comfortable victory by 7 wickets over the visiting Sri Lanka in the second T20 International match at Dharamshala this evening, again remaining not out with a superb stroke-filled 74 in 44 balls and thus sealing the 3-match Series with an unassailable 2-0 lead. Iyer made 57 not out in just 28 balls in the first T20I match in Lucknow and combined very well with opener Ishan Kishan who came into his own with a fluent 89 runs in 56 balls helping India set a formidable target of 199/2. Sri Lanka batsmen faltered in the chase making only 137 runs losing 6 wickets. Ishan crafted a 111-run opening partnership with Rohit Sharma (44) in that match.


Today India won the toss and elected to field first perhaps because of the possible dew factor. Sri Lanka openers made a good start racing to 67 runs in the 9th over when Danushka Gunathilaka (38) got out. After his fall the visitors lost the clue for a brief period losing quick wickets. But opener Pathum Nissanka carried on till the penultimate over scoring a brilliant 75 in 53 balls, and with a late explosion by captain Dasun Shanaka blasting 47 runs in just 19 balls. Sri Lanka scored 39 runs in the last two overs and set a target of 184 runs which seemed to be quite competitive for India without their strike batsmen of Kohli, Pant and KL Rahul.


Ishan Kishan attacked the Lankan bowlers from the very first over and the momentum was not disturbed ever after Rohit fell early to a fiery Dushmantha Chameera for the 5th time in around 40 balls in the last few matches. Iyer took charge from the word go and stroked all around the park in a perfectly cricketing way. Ishan was again stroking well, but got out for 16 runs perhaps a bit shaken after getting hit in the helmet by a Lahiru Kumara bouncer. Sanju Samson, in the team after a long break, lived dangerously for some time and then broke loose notching up 39 in 25. Ravindra Jadeja, also coming back into the team after a long fitness break, made a mockery of the competitive target by racing to 45 in just 18 balls, remaining not out. India won with three overs to spare.


Sri Lanka helped the India chase by a lot of misfields and dropped catches, not normally the case with them. Of course, they are too a young and inexperienced team; but they have a lot of promise in most of the batsmen and bowlers. For a change, we are seeing furious fast bowlers leading the attack for the team, Chameera and Kumara going past 90 miles an hour often, as against their traditionally strong spin attack aiming mostly to choke the opponents. The fairly grassy pitch at Dharamshala helped the fast bowlers of both sides in the initial overs. The Sri Lanka foursome pace-battery can be formidable in the first Test match in Mohali that also offers a pitch somewhat helping fast bowlers.


And, for the first time in the pandemic-hit India we’ve seen today a good and noisy crowd after cricket new normal in Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Lucknow. This victory here is the 11
th consecutive win for India in T20I cricket, and the 8th white-ball triumph on the trot after cleaning out the West Indies 6-0 and now leading 2-0 against Sri Lanka. Although almost all of these victories are on the home turfs the best emerging thing about Team India is that they are winning with different permutations and combinations. The bench strength and the rich options, at least in the white-ball formats, augur well for the upcoming T201 World Cup later this year.


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