Manish Pandey once again played a crucial knock as India secured a comprehensive six-wicket victory in the fourth match of the ongoing Twenty-20 tri-series against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Monday (March 12).
Pandey's unbeaten 42 off 31 balls helped India successfully chase down the target of 153 in 17.3 overs in a 19-over contest. Team India now leads the table with 4 points from 3 matches. Speaking after the game, Manish said his aim was to bat till the end and see the team through.
“I thought we had a good partnership in the end. They started well, it was important for me to stay till the end. We discuss about that (plans against Sri Lankan bowlers). Batting at number 5, I should be there till the end,” Manish said according to CricketNext.
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.
In reply, there was a bit of 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 and Dinesh Karthik (39*) sealed the deal with 9 balls to spare.
“They (bowlers) have comeback really well after the first game. We had a couple of plans and we executed them well. We have not got too much batting after 6 and 7, so it was good for DK to stay with me and absorb the pressure,” Pandey further added.
The Men in Blue have been playing with Manish Pandey at No. 5 in T20Is since the last month’s Twenty-20 international series against South Africa. The Karnataka batsman has proved to be the best candidate for the job as he registered the scores of 29*, 79* and 13 in three T20Is against the Proteas. In fact, Pandey finished the series as the third-highest run scorer (121 runs) behind Shikhar Dhawan 143 and JP Duminy’s 122.
Pandey is already the second highest scorer (106 runs) for India in the ongoing Twenty-20 tri-series behind Dhawan’s 153 runs in 3 matches and is the only batsmen to average over 100 in the tournament.