The Indian Cricket Team matched a world record of 12 successive T20I wins after defeating Sri Lanka by six wickets in the third and final T20I in Dharamsala on Sunday. Batting first, the visitors put up 164 in 20 overs on the back of a half century from captain Dasun Shanaka. In reply, India chased down the target in 16.5 overs. Shreyas Iyer hit a half-century, while Ravindra Jadeja and Deepak Hooda played significant cameos. This is now India’s fourth successive series win under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy. Let’s take a look at the big talking points from the final T20I.
Third successive half-century from Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer was awarded the Player of the Series award for his consistent performances in all the three matches. In absence of Virat Kohli who was rested for the series, Iyer played at number three and scored an unbeaten half-century in each of the three games. He scored a 28-ball 57* in the first T20I at a strike rate of 203.75, a 44-ball 74* in the second T20I at a strike rate of 168.18 and an unbeaten 73 off 45 balls in the final match. Chasing 147, the hard-hitting batsman walked in to bat in the second over, and started his knock with three fours against Lahiru Kumara. Iyer reached the half-century with a six over long-on against Jeffrey Vandersay and eventually took India home with 19 balls to spare. Iyer now has Virat Kohli on the list of most runs by an Indian batsman in a three-T20I bilateral series. Kohli previously held the record with 199 runs against Australia in the 2015/16 series. Kohli, too, had hit three half-centuries at a strike rate of 160.48.
Additionally, only David Warner has scored more runs than Shreyas in a three-match bilateral T20I series. Warner scored 217 runs in three innings against Sri Lanka in 2019, which included two half-centuries and a hundred.
Also, Iyer is the fourth Indian batsman to hit a hat-trick of half-centuries in T20Is. The other three to do it are Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
Avesh Khan and Mohammed Siraj pick early wickets
Avesh Khan, who made his international debut in the final T20I against West Indies last week, was included in the playing XI along with Mohammed Siraj, who played his first game after warming the bench in the previous seven games. The two pacers were inducted in the XI in place of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and both of them made the most of it.
Three wickets and only 11 runs came off the first four overs bowled by the duo. Siraj struck in the first, dismissing opener Danushka Gunathilaka, before Khan removed Pathum Nissanka in the second over. He then returned in the fourth over to send back Charith Asalanka. Sri Lanka managed only 18 runs in the powerplay, courtesy Siraj and Avesh. This is now the lowest powerplay score in T20Is (excluding rain-curtailed matches).
Shanaka the lone warrior
The Sri Lankan skipper was the lone fighter from his side. Shanaka remained unbeaten on 74 off 38 balls at a strike rate of almost 195. What makes this knock even more special is that it came when Sri Lanka were four wickets down by the ninth over and had not even crossed 30 runs. The unbeaten 74 is Shanaka’s highest T20I score, with the previous best being 54 against England in 2017. Earlier in the second T20I, Shanaka had hit an unbeaten 47 off 19 balls laced with five maximums and two boundaries.
Team India achieve a new world record
The win on Sunday in Dharamsala was India’s 12th straight win in the game’s shortest format. With that win, India have now equalled Afghanistan’s record of most consecutive wins by a full member team in T20Is – 12. This is also India’s third consecutive bilateral T20I series victory – vs New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka)