In stark comparison to the first two T20I games at Cuttack and Indore, Mumbai’s last game of the 3-match series turned out to be rather unexciting. India still won but lost 5 wickets and needed even the 20th over for reaching a measly 136-run target set by Sri Lanka. Even in India’s win, the Wankhede crowd was left disappointed. They had come in huge numbers to see some batting fireworks but the match didn’t provide any. Earlier, Rohit Sharma won the toss for the first time in the series and just as the Sri Lankan skipper did in Cuttack and Indore, Sharma decided to bowl first.
Long before the start, stakes were not high for India. They decided to leave out Jasprit Bhumrah and Yajuvendra Chahal from the squad. Washington Sundar made his T20 debut and Mohammed Siraj came to India squad for the second time after his debut game against New Zealand at Rajkot in November 2017. The game saw India opening the attack with Sundar and the debutant did well to contain the Sri Lankans. Supporting Sundar at the other end was Jaydev Unadkat, who began Sri Lanka’s slide in his very first over by having Dickewella play into Mohammed Siraj’s hands. In the innings’ third over, Sundar also earned his career’s first ever wicket. When the dangerous Kusal Perera played one back to the bowler, Sundar gleefully gobbled him up to finish the caught-and-bowled effort. Loss of two early wickets slowed down Sri Lanka and when they lost more wickets, their progress became even more labored. Between themselves, Unadkat and Sundar shared 3 wickets and conceded just 37 in their 8 overs. Unadkat won the player-of-the-match and player-of-the-series award as well. The tourists were thankful to Siraj as he gave away 45 in his spell. Some semblance of color to Sri Lanka innings was provided by Asela Gunaratne and Dasun Shanaka. The former scored 36 off 37 balls while Shanaka contributed a relatively quick 29 off 24. The two lifted Sri Lankan from a lowly 85/6 to 135 in 20 overs.
136 as the victory target was thought as easy based on India’s stellar batting at Cuttack and Indore. And though Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul began on a sound note, the pair soon departed to leave India at 39/2 in 7th over. Suddenly, Sri Lanka smelled victory. The bounce at Wankhede gave some zip to the Sri Lankan seamers and they kept India’s batsmen under check. Even in 12th over, asking rate climbed close to 8.5 runs an over. But arrival of MS Dhoni after the fall of 5th wicket was a huge reassurance. Dinesh Karthik made India’s job easy by hoisting a six off the last ball of 19th over. With 2 runs to get off the last six balls, Dhoni proved for the umpteenth time that he had the knack of finishing in style. He slammed a boundary that took India to a 5-wicket victory besides a 3-0 series win.
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