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Nidahas Trophy: India’s road to the tri-series final

NEW DELHI: Following the tour of South Africa, which spanned three Tests, six ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals, the BCCI selection committee rested skipper Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav for India’s next assignment, the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka, a T20I tri-series also featuring Bangladesh.

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Led by Rohit Sharma, the Indian team – which included greenhorns in Washington Sundar, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant and Deepak Hooda – still landed in Sri Lanka as one of the favourites given the presence of the stand-in captain, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik and Yuzvendra Chahal, as well as the fact that Bangladesh had never beaten India in T20Is and that in recent encounters Sri Lanka did not offer a big fight.

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Despite losing their opening game of the Nidahas Trophy to the home team, India won their next three to seal passage to Sunday’s final in Colombo where they will face Bangladesh, who beat Sri Lanka in a thriller to make final. Here’s a recap of how it panned out.

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1st game v Sri Lanka – lost by five wickets

The start was sloppy. Rohit (0) and Suresh Raina (1) fell early, after which Shikhar Dhawan (90 off 49 balls) and Manish Pandey (37 off 35) got the innings on track for something meaty. A lack of support for Dhawan, however, meant that India got as far as 174/5 with Rishabh Pant’s run-a-ball 23 denying them a strong finish. That total was made to look small despite the loss two early wickets, with the explosive Kusal Perera hammering four sixes and six fours in an entertaining 37-ball 66. Shardul Thakur’s first over cost 27, which set the tone for India’s defeat.

2nd game v Bangladesh – won by six wickets

A much better bowling performance set up India’s first win. Thakur rebounded well from an expensing first game with 1/25 in four overs, Jaydev Unadkat claimed 3/38 and Vijay Shankar was Man of the Match for figures of 2/27 which stemmed Bangladesh’s innings after a poor start. A target of 140 was never going to really trouble India, who despite another failure from Rohit won with eight deliveries to spare. Dhawan (55) was the star with Raina (28) and Pandey (27*) contributing well.

3rd game v Sri Lanka – won by six wickets

Barring Kusal Mendis, no Sri Lanka batsman crossed 22, which left Sri Lanka to defend 152. For India, Thakur led the way with 4/27 and the rookie Washington Sundar was exceptional with the new ball, taking 2/21 in four overs. A few initial jitters ensued when Rohit (11), Dhawan (8) and KL Rahul (18) struggled, but Raina’s 15-ball 27 smoothed over the cracks before Pandey (42*) and Dinesh Karthik (39*) completed a successful chase in the 18th over.
4th game v Bangladesh – won by 17 runs
India became the first of the three teams to reach the final, courtesy a good all-round win. On a slower track than the earlier games, Dhawan (35) and Raina (47) made solid contributions around Rohit’s return to form. Initially reduced to rotating the strike, India’s stand-in skipper made 25 off 23 balls during the Powerplay, reached his half-century in 42 balls and then took 37 off his next 15 deliveries faced to finish on 89 off 61 balls with five sixes.
A stand worth 102 between Rohit and Raina set the basis for India’s 176/3 which proved too much for Bangladesh despite a stroke-filled 72 not out from Mushfiqur Rahim, the hero of Bangladesh’s heroic chase of 215 against Sri Lanka earlier. Sundar continued his impressive run in T20Is with 3/22 inside the Powerplay.
Source : timesofindia

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