By: FPJ Web Desk | January 06, 2023
Suryakumar Yadav and Axar Patel struck blistering fifties in a stunning 91-run stand, albeit in a losing cause as Sri Lanka tightened the screws in the nick of time to beat India by 16 runs in the second T20I and level the three-match series 1-1 in Pune on Thursday
Skipper Dasun Shanaka made a rear-guard unbeaten 56 off 22 balls, while wicket-keeper Kusal Mendis hit a 31-ball 52 to power Sri Lanka to an imposing 206 for 6
India had a nightmarish start to their chase slumping to 57 for 5 before Axar (65 off 31) and Surya (51 off 36) raised hopes of an improbable win with a scintillating sixth-wicket stand
The task became tough once Surya departed in the 16th over, but Axar and Shivam Mavi (26 off 15) shared quick 41 runs to bring down the equation to 21 off the last over. But Axar's dismissal in the third ball of the final over was the last nail in the coffin for India
Chasing the total, India lost openers Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill in the second over to Kasun Rajitha. If that was not enough debutant Rahul Tripathi sneaked one to Kusal Mendis off Dilshan Madhushanaka in the next over before skipper Hardik Pandya departed an over later as India slumped to 34 for 4 in 4.4 overs
Earlier, it was a disastrous performance from the Indian bowlers after electing to field as the Lankan batters went hammer and tongs from the onset. Barring Axar (2/24 from his 4 overs), all other Indian bowlers went for runs
India conceded seven no-balls and gave away plenty of runs through free hits. Arshdeep overstepped three times in a row in the second over of the innings, becoming the first Indian bowler to bowl a hat-trick of no-balls in T20Is. The umpire ruled the seamer's final ball of the over was a no-ball
The speedster created the record for bowling the most number of no-balls in a T20I match by an Indian bowler. All the extras and runs conceded in free hits turned out to be decisive in the end.
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