Shardul Thakur finished with 4 for 27 © AFP
Shardul Thakur finished with 4 for 27 © AFP

More than an hour was wasted due to a slight drizzle, but the fourth ODI of Nidahas Trophy 2018, between India and Sri Lanka, finally got underway. Despite a long delay, the match officials deducted a mere 2 overs, reducing the match to a 19-over contest. Opting to bowl first, India were on the back foot for most part of the first innings courtesy Kusal Mendis’ 55. However, regular breakthroughs — credit to Rohit Sharma’s aggressive captaincy — derailed hosts’ progress. As a result, India need 153 to settle scores with the Lankans for their tournament-opener defeat last week.

Sri Lanka started aggressively. The plan was to unsettle the bowlers from the word go, as was evident during Danuskha Gunathilaka’s 8-ball 17. Mendis broke the shackles soon, and carried on his rich form to slam his fourth fifty in 5 innings. Washington Sundar then removed the dangerous Kusal Perera to tighten the screws. Rohit applied Yuzvendra Chahal from the other end to get rid of Mendis. However, Mendis stayed put and dominated a 62-run stand with Upul Tharanga.

Mendis and Tharanga took 17 off Chahal’s 8th over, and ensured the run rate stayed over 9. Then Tharanga fell, against the run of play, for 22. Vijay Shankar’s change of pace kept the batsman at bay. Thisara Perera came out at No. 5 with all guns blazing. He smashed consecutive sixes off the first 2 balls, but the all-out ploy was short-lived. He fell for a 6-ball 15, adding to Mendis’ woes.

Mendis himself suffered from a lapse of concentration and gifted a sitter to Rohit at covers off Sundar. The last 5 overs went for only 29, and Shardul Thakur reaped rewards of his variations (chiefly the knuckle ball) and the good work done by Chahal and Sundar. Wickets fell in a heap in the slog overs.

Brief scores

Sri Lanka 152 for 9 in 20 overs (Kusal Mendis 55, Upul Tharanga 22, Dasun Shanaka 19; Shardul Thakur 4 for 27, Washington Sundar 2 for 22) vs India