Dhawan propels India to imposing 196/6

Dhawan propels India to imposing 196/6

Dhawan propels India to imposing 196/6

Shikhar Dhawan smashed his maiden T20 International fifty to fire India to 196/6 in the second game against Sri Lanka here today.

Dhawan (51 of 25) stood out in India's run feast with the other notable performance coming from his opening partner Rohit Sharma (43 off 36), Hardik Pandya (27 off 12) and Suresh Raina (30 off 19).

The visitors pulled things back in the penultimate over with pacer Thisara Perera (3/33) picking up a hat-trick, the fourth ever in T20 Internationals and first by a Sri Lankan.

Sri Lanka put the hosts in to bat for the second game in a row and India openers were on fire from the word go. Unlike the greenish deck for the first T20, the pitch aided the strokeplay they are known for.

Pacer Kasun Rajitha, who troubled the famed Indian batting on his international debut in Pune, proved to be expensive this time. The 22-year-old bowled short and wide on the very first ball of the match and Rohit comfortably dispatched it to the point boundary.

Dhawan got going with a couple of delightful sixes. He flicked pacer Thisara Perera over mid-wicket before sweeping spinner Sachithra Senanayake in the following over for another maximum. There was no stopping Dhawan after that as he got to his maiden T20 International fifty in 22 balls.

Rohit did not mind watching Dhawan demolishing the opposition bowlers from the other and by the end of six overs, India had to raced to 70 for no loss.

Sri Lanka badly needed a breakthrough to stop the onslaught of the dangerous opening duo and it was provided by pacer Dushmantha Chameera, who had Dhawan caught behind with a sharp and straight rising ball. The southpaw thoroughly entertained the Ranchi crowd with his cracking innings that comprised seven fours and two sixes.

Ajinkya Rahane joined Rohit in the middle but suddenly the boundaries were hard to come by with spinner coming into play on a dry surface.

Rahane released the pressure by hitting consecutive fours off medium pacer Dasun Shanaka, one over mid off and the the came courtesy a deft touch past Rajitha fielding at short third man. India were now 122 for one in 13 overs and 200 was very much a possibility.

The innings' flow was obstructed once again when Chameera pulled off a spectacular caught and bowled off Rohit before Senanayake had caught Rahane at cover point, leaving India at 127/3 in the 15th over.

Pandya, sent ahead of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, came to the party in the final overs in the company of Raina. He smashed Senanayake for consecutive sixes before Raina joined the part by picking up three fours off Chameera in the very next over.

India could have scored more had it not been for the hat -trick of Perera, who removed Pandya, Raina and Dhoni in the 19th over.