Sri Lanka defeated India by 16 runs in the second T20I at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Thursday (January 5, 2023). Unlike the first T20I, it was Hardik Pandya who won the toss in this game and chose to bowl first. Even though the Indian spinners- Axar Patel (2/24) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1/30)- put on an improved performance in the second T20I, a sloppy performance on the field, especially from the pacers which saw them bowl a total of 7 No balls, with 5 of them from Arshdeep Singh alone, cost them the match.

Eventually, India conceded 206 runs and then lost 5 wickets inside the first 10 overs. In the end, even though Axar (65 off 31) and Suryakumar Yadav (51 off 36) scored brisk half-centuries with the left-handed batter departing only in the last over, India fell 16 runs short. Shivam Mavi’s 26 off 15 also deserves a special mention but none of them could help the Men in Blue seal the series in this match.

Sri Lanka’s victory in this match means the series now stands levelled at 1-1 and the winner of the series will be decided only at the conclusion of the third T20I slated to be played at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. For the visitors, it was skipper Dasun Shanaka who led from the front as he scored a superb half-century, staying unbeatean from 56 off 22 balls before returning to take 2 wickets of the last over of the match, entrusting himself to defend 21 runs off the last over and conceding just 4.

Kusal Mendis’ 52 off 31 is also worth a mention as it lead the foundation of a big score even though the 2014 T20 World Champions lost their way in the middle. Kasun Rajitha was the other star performer for Sri Lanka as he finished with figures of 2 for 22, getting rid of both the Indian openers- Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill- in just the second over of the match. Dilshan Madushanka also scalped 2 wickets but conceded 45 runs.

Game was set up by the openers: Dasun Shanaka

Shanaka was adjudged the Player of the Match for his all-round performance. 

“I think so (a captain’s performance?). We could’ve done well in the middle part. Game was set by the openers. Need to play well in the middle order to allow finishers to finish well. It’s not the dew factor, it’s the skill of Indian batters. They took the game away from us but still we managed to hold the nerve. Really good to defend the total especially against India in these conditions,” he said at the post match presentation.

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