The 3rd T20I had been a delight to watch as the teams were on fire to get their hands on the series title. While the high on confidence Men in Blue looked to get the series to their name by putting put up a score of 201 runs in their quota of 20 overs. The Lankan Lions, on the other hand, were eyeing a series draw.
After India’s exciting win at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, the teams moved to Pune for the final match of the series, the decider. The pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association in Pune has been quite favourable to the visitors as they won the last game, they played against India at Pune. Well, the 3rd T20I between the teams began with Sri Lanka winning the toss and opting to put India to bat first on a pitch that is known for supporting the bowlers, to take benefit of the conditions.
India and its 201-run tally
The opening duo of India for the game, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan moved back to the pavilion at scoring 54 off 36 and 52 off 36 balls, respectively. Their knock of 50+ runs gave a quick start to team India’s inning. However, India’s crucial middle-order batsmen Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer failed to create magic on the field as the players wrapped-up their innings scoring just 6 and 4 runs, respectively.
It was then Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey who provided stability to the falling Indian team before the skipper was run-out at a score of 26 runs off 17 balls.
Sri Lankan players looked sound in their bowling and fielding during the first innings of the game. On one hand, Lakshan Sandakan turned out to be the most efficient bowler for the visitors with figures of 3/35. Fans were disappointed with Lasith Malinga’s performance, who gave away 40 runs in 4 overs without picking any wicket.
The last four overs of India’s inning turned out to be the game-changer. Where the maximum projected score was 18 after Kohli’s departure, Manish Pandey and Shardul Thakur’s hard-hitting boundaries turned things in India’s favour once again. India posted a total of 201 runs on the board to be chased.
Sri Lanka and their chase attempt to victory
After the innings break, Avishka Fernando and Danushka Gunathilaka walked down the field as openers for Sri Lanka. However, none of the players could stay on the crease for long as the visitors were already 2 wickets down at a mere score of 11 in 1.3 overs.
It looked like the visitors wanted to start with big hits right away before even settling on the crease as the wickets kept falling at regular intervals. The Sri Lankan batting line-up looked pale in front of the Indian bowlers who were had their beast mode on.
It was only for Matthews and de Silva who tried to help their team recover from the early damage and get to a stable position in the game. At the end of 10 overs, Sri Lanka was standing at 78 runs for a loss of 4 wickets.
Matthews and de Silva put up a good partnership of 68 runs for the 5th wicket place before the former one was caught by Manish Pandey on a ball by Washington Sundar. It was an off day for Sri Lanka as they were restricted to a total of 123 runs.
The Men in Blue won the game by 78 runs grabbing the series 2-0. Shardul Thakur was declared ‘Man of the Match’ while Navdeep Saini was adjudged as the Player of the Series.