Virat Kohli seals comfortable win for India over Sri Lanka in T20 clash
Captain hits winning six after disciplined bowling puts side on way to victory in Indore
Fast bowler Navdeep Saini led a disciplined Indian bowling performance to set up a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second Twenty20 international in Indore on Tuesday.
Saini returned impressive figures of 2-18 while fellow paceman Shardul Thakur claimed three wickets to help restrict Sri Lanka to 142 for nine, a total the hosts surpassed in 17.3 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The opening match was rained off.
KL Rahul, who top-scored with 45, and Shikhar Dhawan, who made 32 on his return from injury, put on 71 runs for the opening wicket to lay the platform for India's comfortable chase on a good batting pitch.
Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga sent back the two openers as he bowled Rahul with a googly and then dismissed Dhawan lbw after a successful Sri Lanka review.
Shreyas Iyer, who scored 34 before falling to paceman Lahiru Kumara, and captain Virat Kohli, who made an unbeaten 30 and hit the winning six, put on a key 51-run stand for the third wicket.
"This was a clinical performance, and that's how we want to build on each series," said Kohli. "We have ticked a few more boxes this time.
"It was a really good surface, and we pulled things back really well. We kept picking wickets, and we didn't let them to 170-175, which I thought would have been a par score.
"It was brilliant from Navdeep. He has done well in ODI cricket, and he's bowling well in T20s, with experienced guys like Jasprit [Bumrah], Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] and Shardul. It's a really good sign for the team."
Man of the match Saini said: "I was back in the T20 team after such a long time, that's why I felt quite confident and eager.
"The first thing is to be confident, and only then can you bring in variations. When I made my T20 debut, all I thought of was pace. But as I have played more, I have realised that variations are important too."
It was the Indian bowlers who set the platform for victory after Kohli won the toss and elected to field first.
Sri Lanka kept losing wickets at regular intervals despite a brisk start but it was wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav's two key strikes including Kusal Perera, for 28, that further put a lid on the islanders' scoring.
Saini, who bowled opener Danushka Gunathilaka for 20, claimed Bhanuka Rajapaksa caught behind for nine as Sri Lanka slipped to 104 for five.
Pace spearhead Bumrah also took a wicket on his return from a four-month injury lay-off by bowling Dasun Shanaka with a slower ball.
Thakur returned in his final over and the team's 19th to rattle the lower-order with three strikes including two in successive deliveries.
Hasaranga signed off the innings with three successive fours off Bumrah but his effort was not enough. The third and final match is on Friday in Pune.
Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga said: "I thought we were lacking by about 25 runs. We were looking at 160 or so. The bowlers did a good job of sticking to their job."
Updated: January 7, 2020 09:46 PM