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India vs Sri Lanka 2017: Combined Best XI of the T20I series

The third game at the Wankhede Stadium turned out to be a humdinger, but India eventually clinched the game and the series by 3-0

Indian team
Indian team celebrates the T20I series win in style. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After a thumping victory in the One-Day International series, India were expected to put up another clinical show in the T20 International series. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were desperate to turn their fortunes around with some decent performances under their belt.

The first two games turned out to be one-sided affairs as India annihilated Sri Lanka. The Indian batsmen went hammer and tongs in both games and left the Sri Lankan bowlers in tatters. The Indian bowlers added to the visitor’s agony to register massive victories.

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The third was a cliffhanger as Sri Lanka gave the visitors a run for their money. However, India tantalisingly eluded a defeat and registered a 3-0 whitewash against the Islanders. In our article, we take a look at the combined best XI of the series.

#1 Rohit Sharma (C)

Virat Kohli’s break from the game meant that Rohit Sharma was honoured with the role of captaincy and he didn’t disappoint one bit. The Mumbai batsman has simply been outstanding in the recently concluded T20 Internationals series, both as a leader and a batsman.

In the first game at Cuttack, he became Angelo Mathews’ victim after impressing with a couple of boundaries. Nevertheless, at Indore, he stormed his way to the joint-fastest century in 35 balls, equalling David Miller’s ton against Bangladesh earlier this year.

Even in the third game, he blazed away to a scorching start before perishing to a short-pitched delivery by Dushmantha Chameera. With 162 runs, he eventually emerged as the highest run-scorer of the series.

#2 KL Rahul

Lokesh Rahul has lately flattered to deceive in limited-overs cricket for India. Consequently, he has struggled to hold on to his position in the team. Nevertheless, he got an opportunity in the recent T20 International series against Sri Lanka.

During the series, he displayed maturity and a calm head and dished out a couple of craftily compiled knocks. In the first game at Cuttack, he milked the Lankan bowling and churned out the odd boundary to score 61 runs off 68 balls.

At Cuttack, he played a marvellous hand of 89 runs off 49 sixes, which included eight colossal hits over the ropes. Meanwhile, he along with Rohit Sharma recorded India’s highest opening-wicket stand of 165 runs. He perished for four runs to Chameera at Mumbai.

#3 Upul Tharanga

Upul Tharanga has been a prolific run-scorer for Sri Lanka in the past decade. The Lankans needed him to fire on all cylinders to challenge India in the T20I series. He played well, but couldn’t substantiate the knocks into match-winning ones.

In the first game at Cuttack, he started off well with a couple of sixes and a four, but Chahal accounted for his dismissal. In the second game at Indore, he stitched together a stand of 109 runs with Kusal Perera and ignited Sri Lanka’s chances of chasing down India’s mammoth 260 runs.

However, at the threshold of a half-century, he became Chahal’s victim for the second time in the series. Jaydev Unadkat picked him up after he promised with a couple of graceful boundaries

#4 Kusal Perera

Kusal Perera returned to the Sri Lankan team after an injury layoff. He was expected to play a vital role in this T20 International series. However, he struggled to find any sort of momentum and pained to 19 runs off 28 balls before perishing to Kuldeep Yadav.

Nevertheless, in the second game at Indore, he was back to his stupendous best as he laid onto the Indian bowlers. With seven sixes and four boundaries, he notched up a brilliant knock of 77 runs in double quick time.

Kuldeep dismissed him for the second time in the series, which also pulled the curtains down on Sri Lanka’s chances of a victory. He became Washington Sundar’s maiden T20 International victim at Mumbai.

#5 Manish Pandey

Manish Pandey has struggled off late in limited-overs cricket for India and has found it difficult to find any sort of rhythm. Despite the lacklustre performances, he was included in the Indian squad for the T20 International series against Sri Lanka.

He played a fluent knock of 32 runs off 18 balls at Cuttack, which included two fours and a couple of sixes. He found the sweet-spot of the willow from the outset and stitched together a stand of 68 runs in 33 balls along with MS Dhoni.  

In the third game in Mumbai, India found themselves in a tricky situation and lost wickets at crucial stages. However, Manish Pandey held onto his nerves and shepherded India to the threshold of victory with another 32-run knock.

#6 MS Dhoni (wk)

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s performances have come under the scanner in the past one year. He has been under the pump to hold his spot in the team, especially in the shortest format of the sport. However, the Jharkhand-born cricketer was on top of his game in the recent series against Sri Lanka.

In the first T20I at Cuttack, he bludgeoned away to a score of 39 off 22 balls that provided the finishing kick to India’s innings. To the delight of the Indian fans, he finished off with his trademark last-ball six off Thisara Perera to guide India past the 180 runs mark.

Even in the second game, he looked in good touch and scored 28 runs off 21 balls, coming at number three in the line-up.

#7 Angelo Mathews

Angelo Mathews has lately been an integral element of the Sri Lankan setup, both with bat and ball. His statistics in the series might not grab the headlines, but he brought all his experience into play and produced frugal bowling spells.

Though he couldn’t impress with the bat in Cuttack, he picked up the all-important wicket of Rohit Sharma. The Indian stand-in skipper tried to hoick the ball but mistimed it into the hands of Dushmantha Chameera. The all-rounder eventually ended with figures of 19 runs in three overs.

Even in Indore, when Rohit & Co. teed off, Mathews held the Indian batsmen back. However, during his third over, he complained off a hamstring-tear and subsequently was left out of the squad for the third T20I.

#8 Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep made his debut for India in March and has grown in stature ever since. Batsmen have found him hard to pick and the chinaman has gradually added on to the wickets column. In the recently concluded T20I series, he has turned out to be one of India’s gun bowler.

With an economy of 4.50, he was the most economical bowler at Cuttack while picking up two crucial wickets for his side. Kusal Perera had the wood on him at Indore, but the chinaman bowler nipped his wicket out and also outdrew Thisara Perera and Asela Gunaratne.

In Mumbai too, he strangled the Lankan batsmen by hitting decent line and lengths and picked up Danushka Gunathilaka to pick up his sixth wicket of the series.

#9 Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal has simply been outstanding for India in the couple of games he played in the T20 Internationals series. Sri Lanka found it tumultuous to gauge Chahal’s bag of tricks and consequently perished to his leg-breaks.

In the first game at Cuttack, the leggie broke the backbone of the Lankan batting and picked up four wickets in the middle-overs. He got rid of the likes of Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera to dent Sri Lanka’s chances of a comeback.

In the second game at Indore, he was taken to the cleaners by Kusal Perera, but he stormed back and picked up four wickets. He was rested for the third and final T20I at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

#10 Jaydev Unadkat

Jaydev Unadkat bowled excellently in the Indian Premier League. Subsequently, he was rewarded with a place in the Indian T20I team for the Sri Lanka series and he has gleefully grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

He conceded seven runs in two overs at Cuttack and also jolted the Lankans with the early wicket of Upul Tharanga. At Indore, Lankan batsmen found the going tough against Unadkat as he returned with figures of 22 runs in three overs and the wicket of Upul Tharanga.

His best bowling figures came in the third game at Mumbai as he picked up both Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella. Meanwhile, he bowled 15 dot-balls and gave away 15 runs in his allotted four overs.

#11 Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah wasn’t quite firm on his wicket-taking spree in the recently concluded T20 International series. However, with a clever change of pace, he was able to tie down the Sri Lankan batsmen and subsequently, finished with economical figures.

In the first game, he came into bowl in the second half of innings. He didn’t pick up a wicket but restricted the batsmen from dictating terms to him. In the second game at Indore, runs flowed from both the Indian and Lankan batsmen. However, Bumrah showed his class and conceded runs at the rate of seven per over.

Defending 260, Bumrah’s spell exerted pressure on the Lankan batsmen following which they collapsed frenetically. Mohammed Siraj replaced him in the third T20I.

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