The first T20I between India and Sri Lanka in Mumbai has been completed. Set 163 to win, the tourists fell just short as they were bowled out the last ball of the match.
It was an encouraging start for a new look India with many of the established names missing for one reason or another, and several of the relatively new faces made claims to be included in the T20I set-up on a more regular basis.
It was Sri Lanka who won the toss and invited the home side to bat first with Ishan Kishan, fresh from scoring the fastest double ODI century in history last month against Bangladesh, opening the batting along with Shubman Gill.
Sri Lanka, though, enjoyed early success with the ball, dismissing both Gill – and to the disappointment of the crowd – Suryakumar Yadav cheaply. When Sanju Samson was guilty of throwing his wicket away, the tourists were on top.
Kishan, though, kept the score moving along by making 37 off 29 balls, including two sixes and three fours, whilst his skipper Pandya made a useful contribution of 29.
However, it was left to Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel to post a competitive total, sharing an unbeaten stand of 68.
Hooda was unbeaten at the end on 41, with 4 sixes to his name, whilst Patel was 31 not out.
Sri Lanka got off to a poor start with Shivam Mavi bowling Pathum Nissanka with just his fifth ball in international cricket. And when he followed that up by having Dhananjaya de Silva caught behind in his next over, his team were well ahead in the game.
Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, whilst Sri Lanka had fallen well below the required run rate.
It took a captain’s innings to bring them back into it. He made 45, putting on 40 for the sixth wicket with Wanindu Hasaranga – who scored 21 – and 21 for the seventh wicket with Chamika Karunaratne.
When the skipper was dismissed in the 17th over with just three wickets left standing, it seemed all hope was lost. But Karunaratne dragged his side closer to the finishing line, and at the beginning of the final over, they needed 13 to win.
Ultimately, they fell short with Hooda continuing his fine match with two run outs, as Sri Lanka were forced to take desperate risks.
Mavi took 4 -22, whilst there were two wickets apiece for Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel.
Main talking points:
Mavi’s dream debut
Before the match fast bowler, Shivam Mavi said that he hoped to be picked against Sri Lanka because it would give him the chance to impress Hardik Pandya.
He certainly did that and he will know that his debut in an Indian shirt could hardly have gone better. He took 4 – 22, claiming the wickets of Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Maheesh Theekshana.
In the process, he became only the third Indian to take four wickets on his T20I debut, following the footsteps of Barinder Sran (4 -10) and Pragyan Ojha (4 – 21).
It caps a fantastic month for Mavi, who became the most expensive uncapped Indian in the 2023 Indian T20 league auction which was held in Kochi. The defending champions Gujarat Titans paid INR 6 crore for his services.
Hooda Player of the Match
Mavi, though, was denied the Player of the Match award which went to Hooda, recognising that his innings had helped tilt the balance in favour of his side.
He has flattered to deceive for India before. But like many, he would benefit from a sustained run in the side.
Sri Lanka have regrets
The Sri Lankan captain Shanaka said after the match that he was bitterly disappointed because in his opinion, it was a game his side should have won and scoring 163 on a good batting pitch was not too onerous a task.
However, the top order really let down the team on this occasion, and it needs somebody in the top three or four to give the rest of the batters a decent platform.
What happens next
The two sides will now travel to Pune for the second T20I on Thursday, January 5th.
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