For the second time in as many matches, India and Sri Lanka played a gripping Twenty20 match that went down to the final over, this time with the visitors coming up with a 16-run win in Pune to level the series at 1-1.
Central to the defeat though was India’s opening bowler Arshdeep Singh who came into the spotlight in the match due to the five unprecedented no balls – three of them coming consecutively in his first over. The 23-year-old eventually finished with expensive figures of 37 runs from two overs.
After the loss, captain Hardik Pandya did not hold back in the post-match presentation, calling for the need to focus on the basics.
“Learnings (for us) would be that the simple and basics which we can control, we should be focusing on that because I always emphasize that you can have a bad day or you can have a good day, but you should not be going away from your basics. We’ll go back to that and pass on the message to the group that do the basics, focus on basics, rest of the things will be looked after,” he said.
India had won the toss and elected to field first at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. Kusal Mendis (52), skipper Dusan Shanaka’s unbeaten 56 and Charith Asalanka’s 37 helped the visitors put on a hefty 207-run target for India. But it was Arshdeep’s overstepping that caused a great deal of worry for the Indian line-up.
“It’s not something you can get away it. You can give runs, you can go with everything. (Arshdeep) has been having a good run, but in the past as well he’s bowled a couple of no balls. It’s not about blaming but it’s simple cricket,” Pandya said.
“In world cricket or in any T20 cricket that you play, no ball is a crime. Not to be too hard on him, but at the same time, he needs to go back and see these are the basic errors that he should not be making at this level.”
In the run chase, India lost openers Ishan Kishan (2) and Shubman Gill (5) early, and were struggling at 57 for 5 in the 10th over. There on Suryakumar Yadav and Axar Patel shared a well-played 91-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Yadav fell for 51.
Shivam Mavi made a quickfire 26 off 15 while batting with Patel – who lost his wicket after a 65-run knock from 31 balls – but India had run out of time by then.
Pandya though was still pleased by the effort made by the trio while batting.
“It was a cracker of a game, the way Surya and Axar, and in the end Mavi, batted and got us in the game was something which was very heartening to see,” he added.
Watch the full post-match presentation here.