India secured a thrilling 2-run win over Sri Lanka in the first T20I nail-biter to go up 1-0 in the three-match series. Chasing 163, Sri Lankan batters played well to get so close to the target but failed to cross the finish line as they bundled out for 160 in 20 overs. Axar Patel defended 13 runs in the final over to clinch victory for India. For India, debutant pacer Shivam Mavi starred with a four-wicket haul.
Batting first, Ishan Kishan and debutant Shubman Gill gave a quick-fire start to India by scoring 26 runs in 2 overs. But Maheesh Theekshana came into the attack and dismissed Gill for 7. Another bowling change worked for the Lankans as Chamika Karunaratne dismissed dangerous Suryakumar Yadav (7). Very soon, Sanju Samson departed for 5.
Sri Lankan bowlers read the pitch condition well and bowled accordingly to slow down the scoring rate. Ishan and skipper Hardik Pandya chipped in with 37 and 29 respectively. Deepak Hooda (41*) and Axar (31*) changed gears and played an attacking game toward the end. Both stitched a 35-ball 68 stand to guide India to 162/5 in 20 overs.
Sri Lanka in response had a bad start as Mavi sent back Pathum Nissanka (1) and Dhananjaya de Silva (8) in his consecutive overs. Umran Malik then removed Charith Asalanka (12) while Harshal Patel scalped Kusal Mendis (28) to reduce the visitors to 51/4. Captain Dasun Shanaka’s top-score knock of 45 and Wanindu Hasaranga’s cameo of 21 turned the momentum of the game in Sri Lanka’s favor. Karunaratne fought alone with a brilliant 23 but failed to taste success.