Images from the third T20 International between India and Sri Lanka, in Pune, on Friday.
Openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan slammed quickfire half-centuries as India outclassed Sri Lanka by 78 runs in the third and final T20 International to win the three-match series 2-0, in Pune, on Friday.
Rahul continued his good form as he slammed 54 from 36 balls, while Dhawan returned back to form with an entertaining innings of 52 from the same number deliveries to power India to a huge 201 for six in their 20 overs.
Defending the total, the Indian bowlers, led by right-arm pacer Navdeep Saini (3/28) Shardul Thakur (2/19), dished out a disciplined effort to bundle out Sri Lanka for 123 in 15.5 overs.
Off-spinner Washington Sundar also picked up two wickets giving away 37 runs from his four overs.
India won the series 2-0 after registering a comprehensive seven-wicket win in the second T20 International in Indore. The first match of the series was washed out in Guwahati without a ball being bowled.
In reply, Sri Lanka managed only 123 runs in 15.5 overs as there was simply no resistance from the islanders with the gulf in class being so evident in a lopsided contest. Eight Sri Lankan batsmen failed to reach double figures with Dhananjaya De Silva (51) and Angelo Mathews (31) adding 68 for the fifth wicket.
They lost four wickets in the Powerplay overs and there was no coming back from that position. It was primarily due to the pace and bounce generated by Jasprit Bumrah (1/5 in 2 overs), Shardul Thakur (2/19 in 3 overs) and the ever-improving Navdeep Saini (3/28 in 3.5 overs), who again bowled an unplayable yorker to get Kusal Perera out.
Earlier, Dhawan roared back to form with a muscular half-century in the company of a sublime KL Rahul as India posted a competitive 201 for 6 against Sri Lanka despite a middle-order collapse.
Dhawan, who has been under pressure to perform for some time now, smashed 52 off 36 balls (7x4; 1x6) in his 97-run opening stand with the in-form Rahul (54 off 36 balls, 5x4;1x6).
However, the hosts suffered a middle-order collapse as Sri Lankan wrist spinners Wanidu Hasaranga (1-27) and chinaman Lakshan Sandakan (3-35) spun their web around the batsmen on a flat track.
But Manish Pandey, playing his first game of the tournament, hit an unbeaten 31 off 18 balls and Shardul Thakur once again revelled as a lower-order pinch-hitter (22 not out off 8 balls; 1x4, 2x6) to ensure that the hosts crossed the 200-run mark.
Rahul set the tone playing a cut shot off rival skipper Lasith Malinga for his first boundary. Dhawan got an early 'life', when Dasun Shanaka dropped one at deep square leg. Rahul, then hit two consecutive boundaries, both drives, off Angelo Mathews as India raced to 22 without loss.
The visitors introduced off-spinner Dhananjaya De Silva in the fourth over, but Dhawan welcomed him with a four over long-on. Rahul then dispatched a Silva full-toss over long leg for a maximum as India amassed 13 runs from it.
Dhawan changed gears as he hammered two boundaries in the fifth over as India got to 50.
Making optimum use of the ‘life’, Dhawan smashed back-to-back fours, slashing one over backward point and another through extra cover off pacer Lahiru Kumara. The duo was coasting along well as India, after nine overs, were 82 for 0.
After two quiet overs, Dhawan smashed Hasaranga over deep mid-wicket for a six. Soon after completing his tenth T20I fifty, Dhawan perished, offering a sitter to Dhanushka Gunathilika off Sandakan at deep mid-wicket.
However, his innings certainly will make Virat Kohli's choice of Rohit Sharma's partner difficult for the upcoming Australia series.
Sanju Samson (6) got his much-awaited chance as he was promoted at No 3 and smashed a six on the first ball but was trapped in front by Hasaranga as India slumped to 106/2.
Sandakan then pegged back the hosts by removing Rahul and Shreyas Iyer (4) in the 13th over as the hosts were in spot of bother at 122/4. While Rahul was stumped, Shreyas gave a return catch to Sandakan.
However, skipper Virat Kohli (26 off 17 balls, 2x4; 1x6) and Pandey rallied the innings before Kohli and Washington Sundar (0) were dismissed in the 18th over. But Shardul's slogging got India past a par-score mark.