After suffering a 5-wicket defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the Twenty-20 tri-series opener in Colombo on Tuesday (March 6), India’s stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma has said that the target of 175 was a stiff one for the hosts and they could have defended it with some smart bowling.
Owing to Kusal Perera’s blazing 37-ball 66, Sri Lanka chased down India’s total of 174 with 9 balls to spare. Despite removing the Lankan openers – Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis early in the innings, Indian bowlers constantly leaked runs with Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur going for 35 runs (3 overs) and 42 runs (3.3 overs) respectively.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Rohit said: "I think it was a par score, definitely something we could have defended. We could have accelerated a bit more towards the end. It was a decent wicket. The kind of start they got was amazing. A lot of credit must go to Sri Lanka, to their whole batting group. I'm sure we will learn from our mistakes.”
The Indian captain though backed his bowlers to bounce back in the next match, scheduled to be played against Bangladesh on Thursday (March 8).
“I felt we've got enough experience in our bowling line-up. They are very much new into the scene, they have had enough experience having been in these situations before. We all know on a wicket like that you need your batting as strong as possible. Our squad is well equipped with plenty of all-rounders and that offers the balance to the side,” Sharma added.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal hailed the team for continuing where they left against Bangladesh in the last Twenty-20 series.
“We are very happy as a team. This is a very good start for the tournament. We will look to continue the momentum. Really happy for the side. The last series gave us a lot of confidence, thanks to management they have been really helpful during the practice sessions. Credit goes to boys, they have done a great job. He is doing an excellent job and we know how good we are as a team. Really happy,” Chandimal said.
Kusal Perera was deservedly adjudged Man of the Match for his herculean effort that ensured two points for the hosts. Speaking at the post-match presentation, Kusal rated the innings as his best in T20I cricket.
“This is my best innings, but I had better innings as well. I backed myself and practiced hard to hit the ball cleanly. Bowlers did a good job by restricting India to 174. Credit must go to them as well,” Kusal Perera said.
Sri Lanka will now play their next match against Bangladesh on Saturday (March 10).