The Hardik Pandya-led India National Cricket Team defeated the Dasun Shanaka-led Sri Lanka National Cricket Team by 91 runs in the series decider clash of the three-match T20I series at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Saturday, January 7.
India won the toss and elected to bat first in the match. The Men In Blue were not off to a good start as they lost Ishan Kishan in the first over itself. However, Rahul Tripathi played a quickfire knock in the powerplay to help his side remain in a good position in the match.
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Shubman Gill played the role of an anchor and he was part of two good partnerships – first with Rahul Tripathi and then with Suryakumar Yadav.
Suryakumar, the No.1 ranked T20I batter in the ICC Men’s T20I Batting Rankings, played an unbelievable knock and smashed his third T20I century off 45 balls. Axar Patel also played a quickfire knock in the end and India posted 228/5 on the board.
The target seemed too big for the Sri Lanka National Cricket Team and the Dasun Shanaka-led side were bundled out for 137. Arshdeep Singh bagged three wickets while Umran Malik, Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya picked up two wickets each and Axar Patel bagged one wicket.
I’m really proud of Axar Patel – Hardik Pandya
At the post-match presentation ceremony, Hardik Pandya showered praise on the middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav for his fantastic batting performance. He also gave a special mention to Rahul Tripathi for showing great intent with the bat while batting at No.3. He said:
“I think he (SKY) has been surprising everyone every innings that he is batting. He is just telling us that batting is so easy. If I were bowling to him, I’d be disheartened on seeing his batting. Special mention to Rahul Tripathi – the ball was doing something but he showed great intent. Then SKY did his thing. You don’t need to tell him anything, he knows what to do. If there is any situation where he is unsure, we have our chats but more often than not, he knows what to do.”
Hardik Pandya also hailed Axar Patel for his lower-order hitting. He further said that his motto as a captain is to back his players properly. He stated:
“I’m really proud of him (Axar), the way he is batting down the order and hitting. This will give a lot of confidence to him and the team as well. My motto in life as captain has been that I’ll back my players. These are the best T20 cricketers in India and that’s why they are here. There is no space for doubting in this format and we’re backing the players properly. The way we played in the series is pleasing, we didn’t even play 50 percent of our game in the second game but we still fought well.”