India were expected to white-wash a young Sri Lankan side in the best of three T20 series but received a shock when Sri Lanka ran through their batting order in the first T20 on a pitch that seamed and swung.
The Sri Lankans had their tale up by winning the first match as another win would have given them the series. The second T20 was played at Ranchi, captain MS Dhoni’s hometown and this pitch was more in line with what Dhoni expected, although the outfield was definitely not up to par with a lack of grass and puddles of sand visible.
India retained the same side as the first T20 and was put into bat by the Lankan Lions. This time around there was not a lot of assistance for the bowlers and the Indian batting line-up stuck into the bowling. In the end, India finished with a massive score of 196 thanks to some big hitting in the end by S Raina and H Pandya.
The Sri Lankans did not get off to a good start as they lost their experienced opener T Dilshan to a brilliant stumping of R Ashwin in the first over and found it hard to recover from this blow. A partnership between captain D Chandimal and C Kapugedera looked threatening for awhile but Jadeja dismissed both of them thanks to some great work from MS Dhoni and H Pandya in the outfield.
Sri Lanaka was never able to push the run rate up as a miserly spell from R Ashwin where he sent down 4-0-14-3 ensured that Sri Lanka wouldn’t be able to chase down the target. They finished on 127 for the loss of 9 wickets, allowing Indian to square the series and make the third match on the 14th of Feb to be a true finale.
MS Dhoni’s captaincy was brilliant throughout the match and reinforces the fact that he is the man to captain India during the World T20 Match. In a statement, MS Dhoni said “Experimenting is a word banned from Indian cricket, but yes we’re trying different things. Our top order has done well, so we’re trying to give everyone an opportunity whenever possible. Most of our fielders are above average. Sometimes in T20s, even the slower ones can get away. But yes, fielding is very important”.