India Clinch the Series

Source: Cricbuzz

That’s it then! India maintain their top ranking in T20Is, while Sri Lanka are currently third. The next assignment for both these sides is the Asia Cup. Before heading over to Bangladesh, the players must be looking forward to this short break to rejuvenate themselves. Cricket doesn’t stop though and you can switch tabs to follow the PSL game between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi.

The journey then moved from Dhoni’s new IPL home to his hometown, Ranchi, for the second match. The pitch was bald and the ground no different. The Indians made merry with Shikhar Dhawan registering his first ever T20I fifty. And on a flat deck that started turning later, the Indian bowlers crushed the hosts by 69 runs to level the series. If the second match was a display of Indian supremacy, the last game only attested it. The bowlers, led by R Ashwin, bundled out Sri Lanka for their lowest T20I total. The batsmen in reply did not break a sweat to help India retain the No. 1 ranking in the T20I format. This is the kind of preparation India wanted ahead of the World T20. In 9 days from now, they will start their Asia Cup campaign and Dhoni would hope that his team continues the winning run.

Series summary: Having clean swept Australia in the T20Is a few weeks ago, India were in high spirits going into the series against a rookie Sri Lankan setup. However, they were in for a surprise on a green pitch in Pune, as the Lankan pacers bowled them out for a modest total. Debutant Kasun Rajitha was the star of the match, and he ended up with figures of 3 for 29. Though the chase did not start on a great note, skipper Chandimal scored run-a-ball 35 to make sure that the visitors won by 5 wickets, taking a 1-0 lead.

Dhoni: I feel it was a very good game. It was important to restrict them to a decent total after we opted to bowl. I felt the bowlers bowled really well, especially the spinners and Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers today. In between, you will lose one or two games and that’s fair. You want to go hard at times and sometimes it doesn’t come off when you end up losing too many wickets. We want to keep playing the way we are. The consistency in our performances will give us the kind of confidence we want to have when we play this format. We have got experienced players, 8 seasons of IPL we all have played. In international cricket, we have played one or two games here and then. It’s the IPL that has given us the chance to groom ourselves in this format, the experience we need to play in this format. That extra batter at eight helps us a lot. With a few part-timers, there are many players who can do both the jobs and that’s helping us a lot. The conditions have been good and it’s been great to exploit those conditions here. In these conditions, the part-timers come into play. That gives us the liberty of trying out a few things. If one of the bowlers have an off day, someone else can chip in. What’s important for us is to be expressive. We need to take one game at a time, the build-up has been good. The Asia Cup and the few warm-up games should help us before the World T20. Every side has got a few players that can take the game away from the opposition and that’s where the experience will count. It should be a good T20 World Cup. Every side is good enough to win the World T20. We will have to try and play our best cricket if we want to win that tournament.

Ashwin: I hope this lasts forever. The ball is coming out well and in all the three games, I have had a good time with the ball. Thankfully, I had a bat in Pune as well. I have been working really hard with the trainer, the fielding coach as well. I want to contribute, I want to be an attribute to the team and I don’t want to be deficient in any department. I was looking for a five-for today. The wicket had a lot of dampness and the ball was gripping the surface. I wanted to pick up a five-for in a T20I. I have a couple of variations, I have a good arm ball and a good carrom ball. I try to keep the batsmen guessing and if I pick one or two wickets in the powerplay, I am a different bowler altogether. I am bowling well and I have been challenging the batters well. It is important to know how much of a window you have to flight the ball. I always have the courage to go for runs and I always have the courage to flight the ball.

Ravichandran Ashwin is the Man of the Match for his figures of 4-1-8-4. He is also theMan of the Series.

Chandimal: It was really difficult. As batsmen, we didn’t perform throughout the series. We kept losing wickets, we needed to get 140+ to have a chance. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it. It happens with an inexperienced side, they were trying to hit a lot of boundaries. We will try to learn from this. I am very impressed with the bowlers, Chameera and Shanaka. We need to regroup as a team and we are looking forward to the next tournament.

There are a lot of positives for India after this clinical performance. Dhawan continues to get runs and the way spinners have bowled, they are going to be the biggest threat to the teams touring India next month for the World T20. With such a small target in sight, Dhoni could have opted to send Yuvraj ahead of Rahane but when a team is winning, the captain does not tend to experiment much with the set order. Stay tuned for the final presentation of the series….