After being handed a comprehensive defeat by Sri Lanka in the opening T20I of the Nidahas Trophy tri-series, Team India bounced back to defeat the same opposition in their third match of the series. While Shardul Thakur was named Man of the Match for his 4-wicket haul, the middle order pairing of Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey remained unbeaten to guide India home. In the post-match presentation ceremony, skipper Rohit Sharma said that he can’t single out a single performance as it was a total team effort, but still held special praise for the Karthik-Pandey duo which hasn’t had many opportunities in the Indian team but showed once again why they are more than capable of fulfilling the responsibilities.
“Smart performance, especially from the bowlers. To restrict a batting unit like that, it was a great effort from the bowlers. The conditions weren’t easy for the bowlers, there was a bit of dew on the ground. Neither easy for the spinners nor the pacers, but they have executed their plans really well. Just continued where we left off against Bangladesh,” Rohit said in the presentation.
While bowlers ensured that the Lankans don’t post a hefty total, India’s top-order floundered and saw the team come under pressure, but Karthik and Pandey held onto their nerves to chase down the target of 153 with little trouble in the end.
“The bowlers came out and executed the ideas and plans really well. We discussed a lot of things and it was very much on display for everyone to see. We bat really deep, and we haven’t had a batting line-up like that in a long time. We have a lot of all-rounders, but the middle-order hasn’t had opportunities to bat in the recent past, but as you saw today, Manish and DK batted extremely well,” Rohit added while praising the performance of his middle-order pair.
India presently lead the standings with two wins from three matches to their name, but the same can happen with the other two teams as well if they win their respective contests. Admitting that the battle for a spot in the final is far from over, Rohit said that the team wouldn’t rest on their laurels and want to continue the momentum going.
“Can’t single out a performance, it was a complete team effort. We aren’t laid back at all, because all three teams are still alive in the tournament. They can all stand at four points. So we need to continue the momentum from hereon. The new guys have all taken their opportunities and made good use of it,” said the Indian captain.
Sri Lankan skipper Thisara Perera also admitted that the team were 30-40 runs short and was adamant that the team will give their 100% in the next must-win game.
“This is not a 152-run wicket. The batting did well initially, but the middle-order failed. We were 30-40 runs behind. 175-180 would have been competitive and could have been defended. First 6 overs, we couldn’t execute the bowling plans. We’ll take the positives from the match and we’ll see what we can do next match. Next game is a must-win, and I’m sure we can give our 100% next match and win the game,” said Perera.
Man of the Match Shardul Thakur was also elated to have put in such an impressive display of bowling.
“I loved it. Happy to receive the award. Always dreamt of winning a game for India and here I am. Frankly there were some nerves but no pressure. Nothing special, we just discussed how to execute our plans and it worked out for the better today,” said the speedster.
India next face Bangladesh on March 14, hoping to become the first team in the tri-series to confirm a spot in the final with a win.