Nidahas Trophy T20 Series Kusal Perera blitz helps Sri Lanka down India

Published : 12:41 am  March 7, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (258) reads | 



By Shehan Daniel 

Kusal Janith Perera’s explosive half century gave Sri Lanka the perfect start before Thisara Perera saw them over the line to a five-wicket win against India in the Nidahas Trophy Triangular T20I Tournament opening match played at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. 

Returning to the team after a hamstring injury that ruled him out for the entirety of the tour of Bangladesh earlier this year, he produced one of his most explosive innings in this format. 

Scoring the first of his five sixes off the second ball he faced, Perera then tore into Shardul Thakur, taking 27 runs off the fast bowler’s first over and propelling Sri Lanka to 75 runs inside the first six overs – the most the hosts have scored in a T20 powerplay. 

That over had all the hallmarks of his game that have drawn comparisons to the former Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya he modelled his batting after, with a short-arm jab, a straight drive for four and a heave over cover for six, among the six boundaries he scored in that over, before reaching his eight T20I half century in just 22 balls. 

2525Reprising his role as opener, Kusal Mendis struck two boundaries before falling to Washington Sundar in the second over of the innings, with fellow opener Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Perera putting on 58 for the second wicket. 

Gunathilaka scored only 18 of those runs and for the most part was a spectator to Kusal Perera’s onslaught, before he was caught at mid-off in the fifth over. 

A 28-run third-wicket partnership between Kusal Perera and Dinesh Chandimal was broken when the Sri Lankan Captain was bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal for 14 with the score on 98.  Kusal Perera was stumped for 66, with Sri Lanka still needing 48 to win before Chahal had Upul Tharanga also bowled two overs later. 

With Sri Lanka needing 24 off the last three overs, Dasun Shanaka scored a four off the second ball of the 18th over, and 16 runs from Thisara Perera took Sri Lanka to victory. 

Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan’s career-best T20 innings had lifted India out of an hole – they were nine for two inside the first two overs after losing Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina – and took them to 174 for five in their 20 overs. 

Dhawan enjoyed some early luck, with his first two sixes coming off top edges that flew over the third-man boundary, but once he settled he reached his half-century in just 30 balls. 
He put on 95 runs for the third wicket with Manish Pandey, whose 37 was the only other significant contribution which came from an Indian batsman. 

Rishabh Pant scored a run-a-ball 23 and Dinesh Karthik contributed 13 off six balls.