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Rediff.com  » Cricket » PHOTOS: Perera's blast powers Sri Lanka to victory vs India

PHOTOS: Perera's blast powers Sri Lanka to victory vs India

Last updated on: March 06, 2018 23:49 IST

Kusal Perera

IMAGE: Kusal Perera celebrates after completing his half-century. Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket/Twitter

The inexperienced Indian bowling attack was left stunned by Kusal Perera's brutal onslaught as Sri Lanka romped to a five-wicket win in the Nidahas T20 Trophy opener in Colombo, on Tuesday.

In the absence of senior bowlers, the Indian attack looked pedestrian as Sri Lanka chased down a stiff 175-run target with nine balls to spare.

 

Left-hander Perera smashed a match-winning 66 off 37 balls.

Chasing 175 for victory, Sri Lanka lost an early wicket before Perera's counter-attack saw the hosts fightback and start off the tri-series with a convincing victory.

Kusal Perera

IMAGE: Kusal Perera bats during the first T20 International against India. Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket/Twitter

India had shrugged off a poor start to post a competitive 174 for four, thanks to Shikhar Dhawan's quickfire 90 from 49 balls.

It was an opportunity for the young Indian bowling line-up to make an impact but it was rattled by Perera's power-packed performance.

Whether it was taking the attack to the pacers or charging down the spinners, Perera was up to the task. His breathtaking knock comprised four sixes and six boundaries.

He slogged sweep Washington Sundar for his first six, setting the tone for the innings before punishing an erring Shardul Thakur in his first over which went for as much as 27 runs, as he hit the Indian pacer for five fours and a six in the third over of the innings.

IMAGE: Kusal Perera, right, and Danushka Gunathilaka run between the wickets. Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket/Twitter

Such was was the frenetic pace of the chase that Sri Lanka crossed the 50-run mark in less than four overs. Thank to Perera's pyrotechnics, the hosts raced to 101 for three in 10 overs.

Sundar came back to have Perera stumped in the 13th over but the southpaw had done enough for the home team which needed 48 runs off the last 42 balls with six wickets in hand.

Thisara Perera (22 not out of 10) and Dasun Shanaka (15 not out off 18) ensured there were no twists in the tale and completed a fine victory over their fancied opponents.

Shikhar Dhawan

IMAGE: Shikhar Dhawan hits out. Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket/Twitter

Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan continued his fine run in limited overs format, smashing  90 off 49 balls as India shrugged off a poor start to post a competitive 174 for four in their 20 overs.

Dhawan hammered six sixes and as many fours in an entertaining effort which came after the early loss of captain Rohit Sharma (0) and Suresh Raina (1).

Rohit fell to a specular backward running catch from Jeevan Mendis off Dushmantha Chameera on the fourth ball of the innings.

It became nine for two as Raina saw his timber rattled off a full toss from Nuwan Pradeep after he backed away outside the leg stump and exposed all three stumps.

Dhawan then gave the innings a much needed move on with the help of Manish Pandey (37 off 35) as they shared a 95-run stand for the third wicket.

The stylish left-hander also had luck on his side enroute to his fifth T20 half century as a top edge off consecutive balls sailed over the boundary ropes. Sri Lanka bowlers too helped the Indian team's cause by offering way too many loose balls.

IMAGE: Sri Lanka's players celebrate the wicket of Suresh Raina. Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket/Twitter

Dhawan got into the act with back-to-back fours off Pradeep in the fifth over before top-edging him over the wicketkeeper and long leg for consecutive sixes in the ninth over. By the end of 10 overs, India had recovered to 80 for two.

The opener kept toying with the opposition attack and was well on his way to a maiden hundred in T20 Internationals. However, he fell in the 18th over off spinner Danushka Gunathilaka while attempting to hit another one out of the park.

Rishabh Pant, who came out to bat five ahead of Dinesh Karthik, struggled to hit boundaries at the end as he managed a run-a-ball 23. However, Dinesh Karthik came up with two handy fours in the final over, ending with 13 off six balls.

India, who have picked a second string squad for the tournament, were put in to bat by Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal. All-rounder Vijay Shankar was handed his India cap by Ravi Shastri before the start of the game.

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