After registering a comprehensive six-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in the fourth match of the ongoing Twenty-20 tri-series in Colombo on Monday (March 12), India’s stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma has lauded the bowlers for their smart showing in a crucial clash.
After electing to field first, India rode on a strong bowling performance to restrict Sri Lanka to 152/9 in 19 overs. Shardul Thakur was the pick of the bowler for recording his career-best T20I bowling figures (4-0-27-4), whereas the 18-year-old Washington Sundar chipped in with two scalps.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Rohit said: "Smart performance, especially from the bowlers. To restrict a batting unit like that, it was a great effort from the bowlers. The conditions weren't easy for the bowlers, there was a bit of dew on the ground. Neither easy for the spinners nor the pacers, but they have executed their plans really well. Just continued where we left off against Bangladesh. The bowlers came out and executed the ideas and plans really well. We discussed a lot of things and it was very much on display for everyone to see.”
In reply, there was a wobble at the beginning from Indian openers Rohit Sharma (11 off 7 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (8 off 10 balls). However, Suresh Raina and KL Rahul played good hands before Manish Pandey (42*) and Dinesh Karthik (39*) sealed the deal with 9 balls to spare.
“We bat really deep, and we haven't had a batting line-up like that in a long time. We have a lot of all-rounders, but the middle-order hasn't had opportunities to bat in the recent past, but as you saw today, Manish and DK batted extremely well,” Sharma asserted.
“Can't single out a performance, it was a complete team effort. We aren't laid back at all, because all three teams are still alive in the tournament. They can all stand at four points. So we need to continue the momentum from here on. The new guys have all taken their opportunities and made good use of it. So we don't need to go and change anything, we just need to play the way we have over the last two years," he added.
On the other hand, Thisara Perera, who led Sri Lanka in the absence of suspended Dinesh Chandimal, stated that they were at least 30-40 runs short on this Colombo wicket.
"This is not a 152-run wicket. The batting did well initially, but the middle-order failed. We were 30-40 runs behind. 175-180 would have been competitive and could have been defended. First 6 overs, we couldn't execute the bowling plans. We'll take the positives from the match and we'll see what we can do next match. Next game is a must-win, and I'm sure we can give our 100% next match and win the game," Perera said.
Shardul Thakur was deservedly adjudged Man of the Match for his herculean effort with the ball that took India to the top of the points table. Speaking at the post-match presentation, Thakur said he always had this dream of winning a match for India.
"I loved it. Happy to receive the award. Always dreamt of winning a game for India and here I am. Frankly there were some nerves but no pressure. Nothing special, we just discussed how to execute our plans and it worked out for the better today," Shardul Thakur stated.
The next match in the Twenty-20 tri-series will be played between Bangladesh and India on Wednesday (March 14).