If the touring Sri Lankan team had thought that the second T20 would go exactly the same way as the first, it was hugely mistaken. The Indians looked to have regained their composure after the startling defeat in the opening match and came up with a rousing performance to win the match and send the series into the decider.
While the Indians went with an unchanged squad from the first ODI, the Lankans sat out Niroshan Dickwella for Tillakaratne Dilshan, who rejoined the team. Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and put the Indians to bat first. But this time round, the Lankan bowlers paid the price for choosing to bowl first.
Shikhar Dhawan led the assault for the Indians and smashed a quick-fire half-century – his first in T20s – even as Rohit Sharma played out a calm and patient innings at the other end. Though Dushmantha Chameera got Dhawan’s wicket for 51, breaking the Indians’ 75-run opening stand, the Lankans however never got back in the game. Sharma and Rahane continued on and raised 100 up for India. Their wickets however fell in almost quick succession not so long after that. But Suresh Raina and Hardik Pandya, who was sent up the order, ahead of both Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, kept the momentum going.
Right when it looked as if the Indians would cross the 200-run mark, Thisara Perera stunned the hosts. Perera picked up a hat trick for himself, dispatching, Pandya, Raina and Yuvraj (in the same order) in the last three balls of the final over. Ravindra Jadeja and Ranchi homeboy Dhoni then finally pushed the Indian total to 196 in 20 overs.
Needing 197 to win, the Lankan run-chase didn’t start on the right note as Dilshan was stumped off Ashwin in the first ball with merely two runs on the board. Danushka Gunathilaka and Seekkuge Prasanna were the next two batsmen to go over the course of the next couple of overs unable to match up to Ashish Nehra’s bowling tactics.
Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera offered some resistance as they put up a defiant 52-run stand for the fourth wicket. But in the 12th over, Jadeja did well to remove them both in consecutive balls to further hamper the Lankan chase. With more than half the side back in the dressing room, the Lankan lower-order batsmen started going on the aggressive.
Milinda Siriwardana and Dasun Shanaka played on to raise the 100 for Sri Lanka. Though Siriwardana remained unbeaten at the end of the Lankan innings at 28, Ashwin picked up the wickets of Shanaka and Thisara Perera almost back-to-back again in the 17th over. Finally, it was Jasprit Bumrah’s turn as he dispatched off Sachithra Senanayake and Chameera to make the Indian victory a certainty.
At the end of their 20 overs, the Lankans had put up 127 runs losing nine wickets. This gave Indians a resurgent 69-run win with the final T20 to be played in Vizag. Far as the player of the match was concerned, though there were many contenders for the award, Shikhar Dhawan was chosen for his 25-ball marauding of the Lankan bowlers at the start of the Indian batting innings.