Shikhar Dhawan’s fluent 55 off 43 balls was a bright spot in 2018 Nidahas Trophy against Sri Lanka, on 8 March 2018. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
After losing captain Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina cheaply, opener Shikha Dhawan smashed an aggressive fifty in the first match of the Nidahas Trophy 2018, to revive India's innings against the host Sri Lanka.
Dhawan refused to succumb to the pressure and crushed the Sri Lankan bowling line by scoring 90 runs in just 49 balls, before losing his wicket to Gunathilaka.
The left-handed batsman fell 10 short of his century. This was his fifth Twenty20 International fifty off just 30 balls.
Dhawan’s knock and his superb partnership with Manish Pandey helped India recover after they had lost Rohit Sharma for 0 and Suresh Raina for 1.
The Indian skipper fell to a brilliant catch running back by Jeevan Mendis while Raina was bowled off a full toss by Nuwan Pradeep
Pandey was playing in an impressively splendid manner before he gave away his wicket to Mendis. He scored 37 runs off 35 balls.
Sri Lanka won the toss and asked India to bat first in the tri-series opener at R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma-led team entered the tournament with the favourites tag, but they will be put to test by the hosts and Bangladesh as the Men in Blue will be without the likes of Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
However, captain Rohit Sharma played down the perception, saying anything can happen in the fickle T20 format.
"Not worried about losing the toss. Looks a good pitch, we need to come out and play good cricket for 40 overs. I want to start the series on a fresh note. It's a perfect opportunity for the youngsters to showcase their skills. They have done well in the domestic tournaments."
Other big names such as Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav have all been rested.
The visitors clinched the ODI and the T20 series in the recently-concluded tour of South Africa, but beating Sri Lanka again in their own den won’t be an easy ride.
Talking about the strategy Sri Lankan skipper will adopt, he said
"We are bowling first. Looks a good pitch. We need to restrict them and get the total in the second half. We are playing seven batters and four bowlers."
The Nidahas trophy, which will go on till March 18th is being played to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th year of independence.