New Delhi: The absence of big guns in India’s Nidahas Trophy campaign has taken a toll as Rohit Sharma-led India were left stunned by Sri Lanka with the hosts bagging a comprehensive five-wicket win at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday. While Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni were the top two players of the six regulars absent from the season-ending series, India shattered owing to poor bowling attack despite a fair show by the batsmen. With India’s mainstay bowlers missing out, Indian bowling attack looked pedestrian as the hosts chased down the target of 175 runs with still nine balls remaining. However, stand-in skipper Rohit refused to blame the bowlers for India’s defeat in the Nidahas Trophy opener and hoped for a strong comeback against Bangladesh on March 8.
For India, Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal picked up two each and pacer Jaydev Unadkat bagged one wicket, however, the most expensive of all was Shardul Thakur, who conceded 42 runs in his spell of 3.3 overs. He was in fact smashed for a whopping 27 runs in the third over of the innings by Kushal Perera, who later went on to notch up a 22-ball 51.
“Our bowlers tried everything they could, but sometimes it doesn’t come off the way you want it to. I felt we have enough experience in our bowling line-ups.
“Yes, they are new in the scene, but they’ve put in performances. I had a lot of confidence going into the game. Yes, the execution wasn’t upto the mark but we can learn from our mistakes,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Earlier in the evening, India were put to bat first by Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal after winning the toss. However, the tourists failed to get off to a fiery start as they squandered to 9 for two at the end of the second over with Rohit departing for a duck and comeback batsman Suresh Raina scoring just a single. Dhawan then carried on things alongside Manish Pandey (37 off 35) who struggled in the beginning and late joined in the carnival that the duo set up in Colombo. They stitched 95 runs off 67 deliveries which helped them revive from a faltering start at the beginning. Dhawan laced six boundaries and six maximums to notch up his highest T20I score for 90 in just 49 deliveries.
“I think we got a par score, something we could’ve played with. Having seen the wicket here – it was flat – I thought we could have accelerated towards the end. That said, we still had a decent score but the kind of start Sri Lanka got was amazing. Credit to them as a batting group.
“On a wicket like that, your batting has to be as strong as possible. We’re blessed to have a squad that has good batting depth, we also have a couple of allrounders. Hopefully we’ll come back strong,” Rohit concluded.