India thumped Sri Lanka in the first T20I of the three-match series by 93 runs in Cuttack. After being invited to bat first by Sri Lankan captain Thisara Perera, India posted 180 runs on the board courtesy a half-century from KL Rahul and crucial knocks from MS Dhoni (39*) and Manish Pandey (32*).
In reply, the Islanders were bowled out for a measly total of 87 runs in 16 overs. Yuzvendra Chahal starred for the home team as he bagged four wickets and gave away only 23 runs in his quota of four overs. MSD got into the act as well as he affected two stumpings and took two catches to ensure Team India register their biggest T20I win ever in terms of runs. While Kuldeep Yadav picked a couple of wickets, Hardik Pandya contributed with three wickets of his own.
Here's how the cricketing fraternity reacted to the match.
"I said at the toss, it won't make much of difference because right from ball one there was dew. We expected it to be there for the whole 40 overs. Nothing changed. It wasn't easier to bat later on. It wasn't difficult to bat initially. It was a great move, for KL to start with at the top, was not part of the ODI squad, but he came here and showed he belonged. Batted magnificently. And great finish to our innings by MS and Pandey. Pandey hasn't had much game time in the middle, so to come out and bat like that is good. And MSD, he's just class. No. 4 really paid off. He's played so many games for us, won so many games for us and moving forward, we feel making him bat at No. 4 is ideal.
"That allows Manish and Dinesh to finish games off. For a long period of time, MS has been finishing games off, but we want him to bat freely now, without that pressure. We were not sure what the ideal score would be, with dew and the wicket playing weirdly. So I thought 180 was a great effort. Chahal and Kuldeep have always been our wicket-taking options in the middle. They understand what the team expects and they come out and deliver. No words can describe how good they have been for us. The fast bowlers as well, Jaydev playing his first game after a long time, taking an early wicket. Bumrah and Pandya keeping things tight. Conditions weren't easy and they did very very well."
"In these conditions, we wanted to bowl first, but India batted really well. And we have to give their bowlers credit, two spinners bowling really well in dewy conditions. We could have had a shot at 160-170 here. But I think, 180, in these conditions, we could have chased if we had got a good start. But our batting line-up didn't click. Really disappointed. We are working hard at practice, to handle the wristspinners. These are the best 15 we have so we have to stand up and do the job next match."
Yuzvendra Chahal (Man of the Match)
"When we started bowling, I was confused. But you need a little luck, I got Tharanga out down leg and it started working form there. I was mixing up the googly and the legspinner, and varying my pace to the left-handers. You need to have variations. We've practiced with wet balls, and the wicket was turning, so we just bowled accordingly. I enjoy Kuldeep's bowling and he enjoys mine. But we had a good total on the board and we can flight the ball and attack the batsmen."
"Spent two games padded up waiting to bat without going in. So I was waiting to bat. Every game I play, I have to get runs, I have to contribute however I can and it felt good today to do so. The last innings I played against Sri Lanka was a good one, so I just wanted to have a steady base at the crease, watch the ball and hit. That's all. Dhoni was telling me to move across a little bit so I have more chances to hit those wide yorkers they were bowling. Good to start well, and if you're playing well, we need to continue with the same form."
KL Rahul (during innings-break)
"It wasn't the easiest conditions to bat. But the way we started was really good. To lose Rohit early wasn't great. If he had batted a bit longer, we could have got 20-30 runs extra. Then the responsibility was on me to bat long. The wicket was a bit sticky. It was the spongy wicket, making it seem like there is extra bounce. But once you're settled, you can line up where to hit. It wasn't two paced. Once I got 15-20 balls, I knew where to hit it. When we played a few overs, we realised it wasn't a 200 wicket and the new ball was seaming around a bit too. We spoke about getting to 160-170 and I think it was an exceptional finish from MS And Manish to get where we are."
As easy as it gets. Wonderful win for India and another wonderful performance from the two wrist spinners Kuldeep and Chahal.#INDvSL T20— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 20, 2017
India blessed to have two deadly pair of different spin bowlers in Test and Limited overs cricket. Great to watch #IndvSL— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) December 20, 2017
8 overs, 6-41 for the wrist spinners. Matchwinners— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 20, 2017
"Dhoni finishes it off in style"! Last 5 overs 66 runs. India have a competitive score. Sri Lanka will rue the extra 15 they have conceded— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 20, 2017
Really happy to see Jaydev Unadkat in India colours. Made his Test debut in 2010 before he was ready. Now in 2017, well, he is ready to play all formats. Good luck to him????#SLvINDT20— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) December 20, 2017