T20: Ishan, Shreyas help India beat Lanka

Lucknow: Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer hit fifties before a combined bowling performance helped India thrash Sri Lanka in the first T20I here at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium here on Thursday.

With this 62-run win over Sri Lanka, India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. Both teams will now lock horns in the second T20I on Saturday. Chasing 200, Sri Lanka got off to the worst possible start as the side two wickets inside three overs.

Bhuvneshwar removed both openers Pathum Nissanka and Kamil Mishara as Sri Lanka struggled in the chase. Sri Lanka reach the 50-run mark in the tenth over but lost two more wickets. Charith Asalanka did hit a fifty for the visitors but the asking rate was too much to ask for as Sri Lanka lost momentum.

Sri Lanka needed 102 runs in the last four overs and the visitors were completely outplayed in the first T20I as they lost the match by a considerable margin.

Earlier, put in to bat first, India got off to a firing start as Ishan’s flurry of boundaries helped the hosts reach 47 in the five overs. It was a solid start from India as Rohit Sharma and Ishan scored 58 in the powerplay.

The duo continued firing before Lahiru Kumara removed Rohit in the 12th over as India reached 111/1. Meanwhile, Ishan continued slogging and took India’s score over the 150-run mark, however, Shanaka dismissed him in the 17th over.

In the end, Shreyas and Ravindra Jadeja stitched an unbeaten 44-run stand to help India post a mammoth total of 199/2.

Rohit Sharma said, ‘ I know Ishan for a long time now. I know the mindset he has. I know the ability he has as well. It was just about getting the kind of game that he had today. It was so pleasing to watch from the other end. The way he constructed the innings was so good, that is usually a challenge for him. We were talking in the middle about finding gaps. Very happy with Jadeja’s return. We want more from him that is why we asked him to bat higher. You will see that happening more and more in the games that he plays for India. I want him to bat up the order more. He is a very improved batter, so we will try and see if we can promote him going forward. We are very clear with what we want to achieve with him in white ball cricket. I love playing on big grounds, because that is when you will be tested as a batter. Here you got to use a bit of batsmanship as well. In Kolkata you just needed to time the ball. It’s consistently happening. We are dropping easy catches. Our fielding coach has some work to do. Come Australia, we want to be a great fielding side.’

Shreyas Iyer, said, ‘ Once I got going, I wanted to play my shots and keep the intent going, just wanted to play my shots. He (Ishan Kishan) wasn’t able to time (in the middle overs), was losing patience. I just told him to take his time, look for twos and threes. Our plan was to hit the pockets, initially that’s what we did, and things came out pretty well for us. Coming from Kolkata, this ground had different dimensions. I wasn’t thinking a lot, thought 180 was a good total, was just looking to watch the ball closely and then played my shots. I had already put my hand up (for a bowl). Around the 16th over when he (Rohit) went it he had already told Bumrah these are the bowlers who need to bowl. I tried to bribe Bumrah but it didn’t work for me’.

Ishan Kishan, Player of the Match, said, ‘ I got to learn a lot from the West Indies series. My intent wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t positive enough. I was just trying to keep it simple here – watch the ball and play my shots. Pull is my favourite shot, I enjoy playing that shot. It’s a positive thing for the batting unit as well because you need to hit gaps preparing for the world cup in Australia. I was talking to Shreyas about the mid-wicket region. He said if you middle the ball you could get a boundary. If you hit the gaps you can get two. And it went my way.’