Nidahas Trophy: Revitalised India gears up to face host again

India would hope to turn the tables on Sri Lanka when the teams face each other once again in the Twenty20 tri-series in Colombo.

Shikhar Dhawan (left) has two back-to-back half-centuries in the tourney so far.   -  AP

India would look to avenge its loss in the first match when it faces Sri Lanka again in the Nidahas Trophy tri-series on Monday.

Rohit Sharma, who has been quiet with the bat of late, will wish to get back to form as will the wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant. With K. L. Rahul waiting for his chance, time is perhaps running out for the burly youngster from Roorkee. Rahul’s presence gives Rohit the option to use him as an opener and have himself bat at No. 4, thereby dropping Pant from the XI.

India’s second string-side hadn’t acquitted itself well last week when it lost by five wickets to Sri Lanka despite setting a target of 175. A win over Bangladesh in its next match allowed India to collect two points, and if it registers another win on Monday, it will lead the points table, dislodging Sri Lanka.

With back-to-back half-centuries in the tourney, opener Shikhar Dhawan would be key to India’s batting plans. After his 49-ball 90 in the opening match, Dhawan made 55 off 43 deliveries against Bangladesh to help India chase down 140.

Purple patch

Dhawan found his form in the limited-overs leg of the tour of South Africa. His sequence of scores in the last five Twenty20s shows the golden form he is currently enjoying — 55, 90, 47, 24, and 72. In contrast, Rohit’s form remains a cause of concern; his scores in the last five Twenty20s are 17,0, 11, 0 and 21.

Among other Indian batsmen, Manish Pandey (37, 27) has looked in good nick as has comeback man Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik, who form the core of the team’s middle-order.

On the bowling front, Jaydev Unadkat needs to be more consistent. The left-arm pacer has picked up four wickets in two matches so far but has leaked runs. Yet, the young and inexperienced Indian bowlers have done a decent job so far — Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Vijay Shankar have been effective, despite being unable to stop Sri Lanka from clinching the chase in the tournament opener.

The tables have since turned, though, with Bangladesh’s defeat of Sri Lanka on Saturday. Bangladesh’s memorable chase of 215 was anchored by Mushfiqur Rahim, who scored a bellicose 35-ball 72. Sri Lankan bowlers, smarting from the attack, would hope for a better show against India.

On the batting from, Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera are in fine form, and much would be expected from the duo.

Teams (from)
  • India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, K. L. Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj and Rishabh Pant (wk).
  • Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Suranga Lakmal, Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Janith Perera, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Dhananjaya De Silva.

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