Kusal Perera © AFP
Kusal Perera © AFP

Sri Lanka had a good day in the field, bettering India  across departments for once. After keeping India to 174, Kusal Perera powered Sri Lanka to a 5-wicket win in Match 1 of the Nidahas Trophy 2018. Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal did manage to keep India’s hope alive, but in the end the visitors did not have enough on the board.

Sri Lanka’s innings started on the wrong note, losing Kusal Mendis for 11. Post his dismissal it was all about Kusal Perera. He looked like a man possessed in the middle; smacking Shardul Thakur for 27 runs – 4, 4, 4, 6, NB4, 4, 0 in his first over.

Danushka Gunathilaka soon joined in the fireworks. They added 50 runs in 17 balls. Gunathilaka could not convert his start, falling for 19; Jaydev Unadkat got the break through.

Dinesh Chandimal came out at No.4 as India introduced Washington Sundar for his second spell.

Kusal Perera reached his eight T20I fifty in 22 balls; second fastest for Sri Lanka in this format.  Yuzvendra Chahal knocked over Chandimal for 14, bringing visitors back in the game.

Sundar came back for his final spell with India on the lookout for wicket. He outfoxed Kusal Perera, and got him stumped for 66. Chahal nabbed Tharanga’s wicket soon, getting him to play a cross-batted shot and cleaning him up.

Sri Lanka’s hopes were alive with Thisara Perera (22) in the middle. But it was an unlikely hero in Dasun Shanaka (15), who took his side to victory. The pair struck mighty blows in the end adding monumental 39 runs to hand them a 5 wickets victory.

Earlier, in the day Shikhar Dhawan’s highest T20I scored lifted India to 174 for 5. His 90 was the highest score of the innings, Manish Pandey was second highest with 37.

India next play Bangladesh on Thursday.

Brief Scores

India 174 for 5 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 90, Manish Pandey 37; Dusmantha Chameera 2 for 33) lost t0 Sri Lanka 175 for 5 in 18.3 overs (Kusal Perera 66, Thisara Perera 22* ; Washington Sundar 2 for 28) by 5 wickets.

Man of the Match: Kusal Perera