Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer may not be certainties in India’s first-choice T20 eleven yet, but the duo threw their hats in the ring with explosive knocks in the first T20 International Sri Lanka at Lucknow’s Ekana Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Bolstered by the duo’s stirring show, India gave the Lankans a total of 200 to chase, which as expected proved to be a tall order for the Islanders. Charith Asalanka (unbeaten 53 off 47b; 5×4) got some welcome runs and Chamika Karunaratne (21 off 14b; 2×6) and Dushmantha Chameera (24 off 14; 2×4, 1×6) hit a few lusty blows towards the end but the die had been cast by then.

Sri Lanka fell short by 62 runs. For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar got things going with a wicket off the first ball of the Lankan innings. The in-form Pathum Nissanka was castled by a delivery that kept low.
Bhuvi got another wicket in his next over, having Kamil Mishara caught at mid-wicket while trying to pull a good length ball. The Lankans couldn’t recover after the poor start and kept losing wickets at regular intervals, finishing at 137/6.
Kishan was back to his belligerent best after a below-par series against West Indies. The diminutive southpaw got off the blocks as if he had to catch a train, taking a special liking for Karunaratne in the third over. He smashed three back-to-back boundaries and took 15 runs off the over that got India rolling.

Lahiru Kumara was given a similar treatment by Kishan with the fourth over yielding 14 runs. In the Powerplay overs, Kishan had five boundaries and two sixes to his name, while his opening partner Rohit Sharma had hit a solitary boundary.
But that changed after the Powerplay as Rohit, who struggled initially, got into his groove and took leg-spinner Jefferey Vandersay to the cleaners. In between, Kishan got a lucky break with Janith Liyanage dropping a catch at deep mid-wicket off Vandersay. Soon after, Kishan brought up his second T20I half-century off mere 30 deliveries.


A back-of-the-hand slower delivery by Kumara ended Rohit’s (44 off 32b; 2×4, 1×6) innings as the ball kept low and crashed into the stumps, while the Indian captain went for an aerial shot down the ground. The opening wicket partnership produced 111 runs to give India the initiative.
Three overs of calm ensued Rohit’s dismissal, but the 16th over off Kumara got India back on track. Kishan powered a six and two fours off three deliveries to take 17 runs and also got closer to a century. The next over, however, Kishan’s (89 off 56b; 10×4,3×6) knock came to an end as Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka’s banged-in delivery got too big on him and a pull shot was spooned up in the air which Liyanage, rushing from mid-wicket, managed to catch.


After Kishan’s departure, it was a Shreyas Iyer (unbeaten 57 off 28b; 5×4, 2×6) show. An authoritative pull off Chameera for a boundary got him going. In the next two overs – off Karunaratne (19th) and Chameera (20th) – Iyer clobbered 18 and 16 runs to propel India to a total of 199/2. Iyer used the crease well and deposited a six each off the first ball in both overs. The two bowlers erred in their lines thereafter, and Iyer got some boundaries going – eventually reaching his fourth T20I fifty off just 25 balls.


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By Dipak

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