Ranchi: India’s dashing southpaw Shikhar Dhawan’s blistering 25-ball 51 runs enabled the hosts script a massive 69 victory, (their third highest win against any team in the shortest format) against Sri Lanka in the second T20I match to level the three-match series 1-1, here on Friday.
— DC Sports (@_DCSports) February 13, 2016
After crumbling to an ‘English’ wicket in Pune, Dhawan along with his opening partner Rohit Sharma (43) provided India with a great start that powered the hosts to 196, after being put in to bat by Dinesh Chandimal.
Chasing the mammoth total on a bald pitch with an asking rate of 9.80 runs per over, Sri Lanka stuttered in the start losing veteran Dillakaratne Dilshan for naught, thanks to Ravichandran Ashwin and skipper MS Dhoni’s lightening hands behind the wicket. The visitors lost the plot early on, losing wickets at regular intervals.
Dhawan, who also earned the Man of the Match award for his splendid knock which also saw him register his maiden T20 fifty.
“I was hitting the ball well. I like to play my natural game. I got a lot of support from the captain and the coaching staff. We didn't have any specific plan to hit 70 in the first six. Once I started connecting the ball well, it all came together," he said during the post-match presentation.
After the match, Team India were in a jolly good mood, and in particular Dhawan while chatting with commentators Harsha Bhogle and former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar in an interview with Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the series.
While discussing his ability to strike the ball and how Rohit’s start eases the pressure off from him, Dhawan almost sent ripples down the spines of all Indian fans including guests in the studio — Akash Chopra, VVS Laxman and host Mayanti Langer.
Ahead of the ICC World T20 Gavaskar questioned whether the Indian team would miss Dhawan’s bowling, after the latter’s bowling action was found to be illegal by the ICC during the South Africa series.
Dhawan then made the startling revelation. “I want to inform all my fans and make it official that I will be retiring (with a long pause)… from bowling in international and domestic cricket,” Dhawan guffawed.
Indian fans were almost frozen in time when Dhawan paused and heaved a sigh of relief after he continued his statement.
Ahead of the Asian Cup and ICC World T20, India will bank heavily on Dhawan’s contribution at the start and it also has been proven how vital the initial clobbering of the white ball has helped to boost the team’s chances of scoring big.
Indian cricket team will face Sri Lanka in the decider on Sunday at Visakhapatnam....