Kusal Perera Blitz Helps Sri Lanka Beat India In 1st T20I

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There were smiles all around for Sri Lanka as they finally overcame India after seven consecutive losses in T20Is. The Lankans won the first match of the ongoing Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series with five wickets to spare in a 175-run record chase at the R Premadasa stadium in Colombo.
Kusal Perera’s fiery 66 off just 37 deliveries set up the run-chase in an emphatic manner as veteran Thisara Perera (22*) stayed till the end to help his side seal the proceedings in just 18.3 overs. Earlier, India got to 174/5 after a Shikhar Dhawan blitz that saw him score a power packed 90. Manish Pandey (37) and cameos from Rishabh Pant (23) and Dinesh Karthik (13*) helped India manage a decent score.
The match saw a series of personal and team records broken in the process and in the end there was joy for thousands of fans. They had made it to the stadium despite an emergency being declared by the Lankan government earlier in the day after communal tensions erupted between Buddhists and Muslims.


Lankans chase down target in style
Sri Lanka looked solid from the word go as they added 75 runs for the loss of one wicket in the power play overs. After Kusal Mendis got out to Washington Sundar, Perera and Danushka Gunathalika added 58 runs in just 21 deliveries.Perera smashed Shardul Thakur for 27 runs in the third over of the power play as it set the tone for the rest of the innings.
After Danushka’s dismissal, the left-hander shared a 28-run stand with skipper Dinesh Chandimal before adding another 29 runs with senior batsman Upul Tharanga. Perera muscled four sixes and six fours in his way to 66 runs. This was his eighth T20I fifty and a second against India.
After Perera’s dismissal, Tharanga too followed suit as India looked to get back into the tie. But Dasun Shanaka and Thisara stayed calm to put on a 39-run partnership and see their side past the finish line.
India ride through Dhawan’s 90
India got off to a terrible start as Rohit Sharma was dismissed for nought (his 2nd in three T20I games) before Suresh Raina (1) was clean bowled of a nothing shot. The southpaw, who made a comeback in the previous series against South Africa, got dismissed in only the third ball he faced.
Dhawan and Manish Pandey anchored the innings as the southpaw grew in confidence with some breathtaking shots. The stylish left-hander also had luck on his side enroute to his fifth T20 half century as a top edge off consecutive balls sailed over the boundary ropes.
Dhawan got into the act with back-to-back fours off Nuwan Pradeep in the fifth over before top-edging him over the wicketkeeper and long leg for consecutive sixes in the ninth over. By the end of 10 overs, India had recovered to a commendable 80 for two.
The opener kept toying with the opposition attack as however, he fell in the 18th over off spinner Gunathilaka while attempting to hit another one out of the park. Pant and Karthik then helped India get to a competetive total.
Key stats and records

  1. This was Rohit Sharma’s first loss as a T20I skipper.
  2. This was the highest ever chase recorded at the Premadasa stadium in the history of T20Is.
  3. Shikhar Dhawan’s 90 was his best ever score in T20Is. 
  4. This was Dhawan’s fifth fifty in T20Is and his second versus Sri Lanka.
  5. Dhawan also broke Virat Kohli’s record of highest T20I score by an Indian in Colombo (82).
  6. His 95-run stand with Manish Pandey for the third wicket is the 3rd highest partnership for India in the history of this format.
  7. Shardul Thakur’s 27 runs in the third over was the 2nd costliest over ever by an Indian in T20Is. 32 runs conceded by Stuart Binny against West Indies at Lauderhill in 2016 is the highest.
  8. Kusal Perera’s 22-ball fifty was the third highest by any Sri Lankan player in the format.
  9. Perera also notched the 2nd fastest fifty by a Sri Lankan versus India.
  10. Lanka’s 75 runs in first six overs is their best figures in power play in T20Is.

Brief Scores:
India 174/5 in 20 overs (S Dhawan 90, M Pandey 37, Chameera 2/33) lost to Sri Lanka 175/5 in 18.3 overs (K Perrera 66, T Perera 22*, W Sundar 2/28) by five wickets

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