AFP
AFP

Batting with Virat Kohli is not easy. He often gets cranky if you do not meet his standard of cricket. And when that happens, all hell breaks loose. Manish Pandey, however, was unaffected by any of Kohli s emotions. He refused to look at Kohli when he denied his captain a second run. The replay suggested that Pandey was right, but Kohli was fuming.

Kohli was adjudged Man of the Match for his magnificent 82 off 54. That being said, Pandey made sure he keeps himself out of the limelight, leaving the onus to his captain. Pandey did wallop the bad deliveries, but he knew his captain likes being in the thick of things. For the sake of victory, he was happy playing second fiddle.

Sri Lanka looked in command when India lost Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul for 42. The target looked far-fetched against a disciplined Sri Lankan bowling. However, Kohli and Pandey eliminated every iota of pressure, so much so that they did not concede a single dot ball in the first 35 balls of their partnership.

The momentum took a u-turn, and India were strolling to triumph.

At the stroke of glory, Isuru Udana removed Kohli. Although he had remarkably done his job, he was disgusted at his mistimed shot. He wanted to be there for the winning run.

But the evening also belonged to Pandey. When India needed a run to finish the 9-0 whitewash, he stroked one to the boundary line and, at the same time, brought up his maiden T20I half-century.

Kohli also became the third highest run-scorer in T20Is, only behind Tilakaratne Dilshan and Brendon McCullum.

Kohli, however, was more focussed on how India collectively performed and lauded his team’s appetite for success. “Credit to all the hard work the boys have put in. Evidence of the fact how hungry the players are in Indian cricket. Very, very happy as a captain. I look to back my strengths in T20 cricket. It’s something I’ve practiced very hard to mould my game to all formats. When you’re two-down chasing 171, we knew it won’t be easy. Manish was outstanding as well today,” said Kohli after the match.

It has been a forgettable season of cricket for Sri Lanka, for they lost all the nine games in the series. Tonight was the last nail in the coffin of misery.

Dilshan Munaweera and newcomer Ashan Priyangana were the only warriors to have given some scare to the belligerent Indians. Despite losing partners, Munaweera stood firm and registered the second fastest half-century for Sri Lanka. To continue his good work, Priyangana displayed an array of strokes and guided his team to a competitive 170 for 7 in a rain-delayed match.

Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers with his three-for, while Kuldeep Yadav pouched two wickets.

The match was Sri Lanka’s after the Indian openers were back in the hut early, but the Kohli storm was too mighty for the hosts to weather.

“The way Virat batted was outstanding. He was a good example for everyone. That’s the difference between the two teams,” said Upul Tharanga.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 170 for 7 (Dilshan Munaweera 53, Ashan Priyanjan 40*; Yuzvendra Chahal 3 for 43) lost to India 174 for 3 in 19.2 overs (Virat Kohli 82, Manish Pandey 51*; Lasith Malinga 1 for 32) by 7 wickets.

Full scorecard