Nidahas Tri-series 2018: Kusal Perera’s assault in the powerplay made the difference, reckons Shikhar Dhawan

Sri Lanka won the first match of the Nidahas Trophy by 5 wickets.

Kusal Perera scored a blazing 37-ball 66 against India to seal a five-wicket victory for Sri Lanka | Twitter

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 opener Shikhar Dhawan has said that the below-par performance with the ball in powerplay cost India the match. Dhawan, who scored 49-ball 90 in India’s total of 174, also credited Kusal Perera for taking the game away from India with his blazing knock.

Owing to Kusal Perera’s blazing 37-ball 66, Sri Lanka chased down India’s target of 175 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 leading pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur going for 35 runs (3 overs) and 42 runs (3.3 overs) respectively.

Addressing the media conference after the match, Dhawan said: "It was in the first six overs that they took the game away from us. After the first six overs even they weren't hitting the ball that frequently - it wasn't like 10 an over against the spinners in the middle overs. That's because the wicket was a little slow.”

"The way Kushal scored that 27 runs in that over, they were 75 after six overs, that made the difference," he added.

After being put into bat by Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal, India lost their first two wickets in the form of Rohit Sharma (0 off 4 balls) and Suresh Raina (1 off 3 balls) for just 9 runs. Dhawan then forged a 95-run stand for the third wicket with Manish Pandey (37 off 35 balls) which pushed India towards a competitive total.

"They took two wickets in the first two overs and that did the damage. We could have been more aggressive if we wouldn't have lost wickets. We had to ensure we don't lose any more wickets and also score runs," Dhawan asserted.

"We were 10 runs short after six overs but I felt 174 was a good score but Kushal Perera took the game away by playing an amazing knock," he elaborated.

When asked about his herculean effort with the bat, Shikhar said: "I have been playing very aggressive at the start, I know my game and that's how I have been playing. I have been scoring runs at a quick pace."

 The 32-year-old though was a tad disappointed on missing out a well-deserved hundred.

"I was disappointed that I couldn't score a century but at that time the team wanted to go after bowling, so I didn't care if I get century or not. I am happy my consistency is going very good and I am enjoying it," he added.

India will now play their next match against Bangladesh on Thursday (March 8) and Dhawan is confident of an improved show in that clash.

"We just lost one game, so it is a not a big deal, we will learn from it and go with all the positives in the next," concluded Shikhar Dhawan.


By Salman Anjum - 07 Mar, 2018

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