India too good for Sri Lanka

India too good for Sri Lanka

Opener KL Rahul's blistering  half-century and four wickets by Yuzvendra Chahal's helped India register a  93-run win over Sri Lanka,  their biggest victory in T20 Internationals here on Wednesday.

Rahul struck a quickfire 61 off 48 balls before leg-spinner Chahal (4/23) triggered Sri Lanka's collapse as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the  three-match series.

Fast bowler Hardik Pandya claimed three wickets (3/29).

India bettered their 90-run  win  over England recorded in Colombo in September, 2012.

Sent into bat, Rahul's fifty and some sensible batting from Mahendra Singh Dhoni (39 not out) and Manish Pandey (32 not out) powered India to a challenging 180 for three.

Chahal then  took  wickets in each of his four overs to lead Lanka's downfall as the visitors were bundled out for 89 in 16 overs on a dew-laden Barabati Stadium.

After the leg-spinner's guile, it was Kuldeep Yadav's turn to get into the act with figures of two for 18 as the wrist spin duo once again did the job for India.

It was yet another pathetic batting show by the Lankans, who showed little resistance as wickets kept tumbling after Upul Tharanga's 16-ball 23-run burst.

Earlier, in the absence of first-choice opener Shikhar Dhawan, Rahul grabbed the opportunity with both hands hitting seven fours and one six en route to  his half-century  after being put into bat by Lanka skipper Thisara Perera.

Rahul and Shreyas Iyer (24) put together 63 runs from 46 balls as India looked to push for a 200-run mark on a two-paced Barabati wicket before Lanka bounced back dismissing the duo in a span of 11 balls.

But former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was promoted to number four, smashed an unbeaten 22-ball 39 and Pandey had other plans as the duo stitched a 68-run stand off 34 balls for the fourth wicket to prop up India's total. In reply, Sri Lanka hardly showed any fight.

Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat (1/7) gave India the breakthrough in the second over. Unadkat dismissed Niroshan Dickwella (13) for his maiden T20I wicket as he conceded just seven runs in the first two overs before Chahal reigned supreme.

Chahal was hit for successive fours and six by a dangerous-looking Tharanga but he bounced back with Dhoni taking a superb catch down the leg side.

Chahal returned in the eight over and this time dismissed former Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews, caught and bowled.

Chahal took his third after Asela Gunaratne (4) was stumped by Dhoni before finishing his quota with the wicket of Lankan skipper Thisara Perera.

Earlier, Rahul paced his innings brilliantly and also successfully reviewed to overturn an LBW decision when he was on 23.

Lanka looked to attack through Mathews and brought him back in the ninth over to break the partnership. However,  Rahul, stood firm and completed his second T20 half-century in 34 balls.

Lanka slowed down the run-rate, removing Iyer and Rahul.

Iyer edged one behind the stumps and Rahul was deceived by a slower one by skipper Perera.

Dhoni came in at four and did not disappoint as India added 66 runs in the last five overs without losing a wicket.

The second match is scheduled for Friday in Indore.

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