Sri Lanka beat India by five wickets in the opening game of the Nidahas Twenty20 Tri-Series in Colombo on Tuesday.
Kusal Perera’s well-played 66 off 37 balls was the standout performance for the Sri Lankans, who reached the target of 175 with nine balls remaining. For his match-winning knock, Perera was given the Man of the Match award.
Batting first, India scored 174-5 from their 20 overs, with Shikhar Dhawan making 90 runs from 49 deliveries.
Having lost the first two wickets – Rohit Sharma (0) and Suresh Raina (1) – with just nine runs on the board, Manish Pandey joined Dhawan and they immediately started building the Indian innings.
Dhawan smashed six sixes and six fours on his way to 90, while Pandey hit three fours and a six before he was eventually caught by Danushka Gunathilaka off the bowling of Jeevan Mendis for 37.
The in-form Dhawan was eventually out when he lofted a Gunathilaka delivery to long off and was caught by Perera.
Rishabh Pant scored 23, and Dinesh Karthik made 13 as India reached 174-5.
Sri Lanka’s chase started poorly as they lost Mendis early on, but Gunathilaka and Perera came together and punished the Indian bowlers.
Gunathilaka departed for 19, and was soon followed by captain Dinesh Chandimal (17).
Perera was eventually caught by Karthik off the bowling of Washington Sundar for 66, but the home side had momentum at that point.
Thisara Perera and Dasun Shanaka were able to see Sri Lanka home with an unbeaten partnership of 39 as they won by five wickets.
The next game of the Nidahas Twenty20 Tri-Series will see Bangladesh face India in Colombo on Thursday.
Photo: Tharaka Basnayaka/Getty Images