After a series victory in the ODI series, Team India began with a resounding victory by 93 runs in the opening T20I at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Riding on an impressive half-century by KL Rahul and useful contributions by former skipper MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey, India posted a commendable total of 180 runs in their allotted 20 overs.
Both KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma began with some exquisite shots to start of proceedings and shared a stand of 38 runs for the opening wicket. Angelo Mathews eventually dismissed Rohit on 17. Shreyas Iyer also struck three boundaries en route to his 24 of 20 deliveries which included three boundaries. Rahul wasn’t able to execute the big shots towards the end of his innings and was eventually castled by a well-disguised slower delivery from Thisara Perera.
Mahendra Singh was promoted to the No 4 slot and he did justice to his reputation. Unlike his natural game, he started going against the bowlers from the outset and struck some exquisite shots en route to 39 of 22 deliveries. It was a masterful innings which was decorated with 4 fours and a solitary hit over the fence.
Manish Pandey on the other hand also played some lusty blows and struck a couple of gigantic sixes and a couple of fours. He eventually remained unbeaten on 32 o 18 deliveries as India reached a competitive total of 180 on the board. Mathews, Thisara Perera and Nuwan Pradeep bagged a wicket each.
The Islanders were never in the chase and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. It was an exceptional piece of bowling especially by Yuzvendra Chahal who returned with exceptional figures of 4/23 in his 4 overs. Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga struck a boundary each to begin proceedings but it was Jaydev Unadkat who gave India the maiden breakthrough in the form of Niroshan Dickwella’s wicket.
It was Chahal who struck the 2nd blow for the hosts as he bamboozled Tharanga with a well-flighted delivery. Wickets kept coming at regular intervals which never allowed the Lankans to play themselves in. The middle order faltered miserably which meant Sri Lanka were bundled out for 87 from the score of 46/2.
It was Hardik Pandya who finished off the match with the wickets of tail-enders Dushmantha Chameera and debutant Vishwa Fernando. Left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav also bowled brilliantly and finished with impressive figures of 2/18 in his 4 overs. The Lankans were shot out in the 16th over to hand India a comprehensive victory by 93 runs.