Nidahas Trophy 2018

Kusal Perera’s carnage overshadowed Dhawan’s counter-attack in Sri Lanka’s 5-wicket win

The Indian opener counterpunched after the hosts they made early inroads but the Lankan replied by beating the bowlers to a pulp.

Two southpaws. Both top-order batsmen. One full of flamboyance, the other characterised by silence. One with a big showoff ‘stache, the other with a pair of hands that can perhaps bend steel. One, on Tuesday, repaired his team’s innings. The other set off the fireworks for his team’s triumph.

Shikhar Dhawan counterpunched Sri Lanka after they made early inroads in the Powerplay. But Kusal Perera, when he batted in the Powerplay, beat India to a pulp with his belligerent bat.

India recovered and got rid of Perera before he could inflict more pain as the match headed towards a cliffhanger. But they slipped and fell before they could get there, losing the match by five wickets.

India could have stifled the hosts when they needed 24 off the last three overs with two new batsmen on the crease. But their specialists at the death – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah – were off duty. And the Lankans ensured that the fire Perera set at the beginning of the innings wasn’t allowed to be doused in the end.

Perera’s demolition job

Till 1.3 overs of the Sri Lankan chase – when Kusal Mendis holed out to Shikhar Dhawan off Washington Sundar – the match seemed like it would course in a familiar direction. India have won all their previous seven T20I games against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka have won only two of their 14 games at the Premadasa Stadium. Sri Lanka let India score 170-plus after having them at 9/2.

To face the next ball, arrived Perera, with his Ton blade, an ink blue wrist band that masked most of his right arm, and in the multi-coloured jersey of Sri Lanka. But he could have might as well worn a T-shirt that said ‘Keep Calm and Attack’.

For 1.4, he was calm, defending a faster ball pitched on the mid-stump line. But at 1.5, he attacked. Washington decided to slide one in wide to fox him. But the latter saw it, locked it, stretched across off, with enormous power and vicious swing of the bat, deposited the ball over the square leg boundary.

Perera has made a string of low scores in T20Is from mid-2014 to the end of 2016. So, after making a match-winning 77 against Bangladesh last year, he conceded: “I realised I got a lot of starts but wasn’t finishing things off. Getting those 20s and 30s are of no use either to me, or the team. So I strove to bat till the end. When the loose ball comes I am anyway waiting to hit it, but recently I tried to bat long, and that’s what’s helped me.”

Now, he perhaps shackles himself a bit to score big. But on Tuesday, in the third over of the innings, Perera was unchained. The powerful six off Washington must have been a confidence boost. He was ready for the third over; the bowler, Shardul Thakur, didn’t seem like he was.

Third over: Short, short, overpitched, slow and overpitched, above-waist full toss (no-ball), half-volley, short.
The response?
4,4,4,6,5nb,4,dot. 27 runs. Mission accomplished.

“We had to attack in the first six overs. As the target was 175, we needed some momentum,” Perera said after the match. “When you get that kind of start, it is easier for the innings to progress smoothly, but you don’t get that kind of start every game. The first six overs had a great impact on the match.”

Dhawan to the rescue

But before Perera’s carnage was Dhawan’s counterattack.

Dhawan, when he’s in full flow, is a rock song. His batting might lack the melodious timing of Rohit Sharma or the meticulousness technique of Virat Kohli but he’s got a punch that only he possesses in the Indian batting line up. He exhibits a delightful audacity, like he did with a six over the sightscreen off Chameera, that evokes a good feeling similar to the one induced by the powerful riffs of the electric guitar in a rock number. The six in discussion, per se, wasn’t an unbelievable shot – it came off a full toss – but Dhawan’s demeanour, which tells the bowler that he’s the one who’s calling the shots, gives his team and its fans great assurance.

But for a batsman of his calibre, Dhawan, hitherto, never found a purple patch in this format – even if he’s played only 22 T20Is for India. But Tuesday’s game-changing 90 was his third 70-plus score in his last seven T20I innings. Even his best-ever T20I score, however, wasn’t enough on Tuesday to save India.

“It was in the first six overs that they took the game away from us,” Dhawan concurred with Kusal Perera’s statement after the match.

About India’s Powerplay he said, “They took two wickets in the first two overs - that’s the damage they did to us,” Dhawan said. “Usually I’m the aggressor when the side aren’t scoring runs at a quick pace - generally my strike rate is very high. If we didn’t lose a wicket we would have been more aggressive. Today, we had to see that we wouldn’t lose any more wickets. At the end of six overs we were maybe 10 runs short of what we usually achieve.”

But when all is said and done, the decision to give Dhawan the Emerging Player of the Match award was quite baffling.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

The ordeal of choosing the right data pack for your connectivity needs

"Your data has been activated." <10 seconds later> "You have crossed your data limit."

The internet is an amazing space where you can watch a donkey playing football while simultaneously looking up whether the mole on your elbow is a symptom of a terminal diseases. It’s as busy as it’s big with at least 2.96 billion pages in the indexed web and over 40,000 Google search queries processed every second. If you have access to this vast expanse of information through your mobile, then you’re probably on something known as a data plan.

However, data plans or data packs are a lot like prescription pills. You need to go through a barrage of perplexing words to understand what they really do. Not to mention the call from the telecom company rattling on at 400 words per minute about a life-changing data pack which is as undecipherable as reading a doctor’s handwriting on the prescription. On top of it all, most data packs expect you to solve complex algorithms on permutations to figure out which one is the right one.


Even the most sophisticated and evolved beings of the digital era would agree that choosing a data pack is a lot like getting stuck on a seesaw, struggling to find the right balance between getting the most out of your data and not paying for more than you need. Running out of data is frustrating, but losing the data that you paid for but couldn’t use during a busy month is outright infuriating. Shouldn’t your unused data be rolled over to the next month?

You peruse the advice available online on how to go about choosing the right data pack, most of which talks about understanding your own data usage. Armed with wisdom, you escape to your mind palace, Sherlock style, and review your access to Wifi zones, the size of the websites you regularly visit, the number of emails you send and receive, even the number of cat videos you watch. You somehow manage to figure out your daily usage which you multiply by 30 and there it is. All you need to do now is find the appropriate data pack.

Promptly ignoring the above calculations, you fall for unlimited data plans with an “all you can eat” buffet style data offering. You immediately text a code to the telecom company to activate this portal to unlimited video calls, selfies, instastories, snapchats – sky is the limit. You tell all your friends and colleagues about the genius new plan you have and how you’ve been watching funny sloth videos on YouTube all day, well, because you CAN!


Alas, after a day of reign, you realise that your phone has run out of data. Anyone who has suffered the terms and conditions of unlimited data packs knows the importance of reading the fine print before committing yourself to one. Some plans place limits on video quality to 480p on mobile phones, some limit the speed after reaching a mark mentioned in the fine print. Is it too much to ask for a plan that lets us binge on our favourite shows on Amazon Prime, unconditionally?

You find yourself stuck in an endless loop of estimating your data usage, figuring out how you crossed your data limit and arguing with customer care about your sky-high phone bill. Exasperated, you somehow muster up the strength to do it all over again and decide to browse for more data packs. Regrettably, the website wont load on your mobile because of expired data.


Getting the right data plan shouldn’t be this complicated a decision. Instead of getting confused by the numerous offers, focus on your usage and guide yourself out of the maze by having a clear idea of what you want. And if all you want is to enjoy unlimited calls with friends and uninterrupted Snapchat, then you know exactly what to look for in a plan.


The Airtel Postpaid at Rs. 499 comes closest to a plan that is up front with its offerings, making it easy to choose exactly what you need. One of the best-selling Airtel Postpaid plans, the Rs. 499 pack offers 40 GB 3G/4G data that you can carry forward to the next bill cycle if unused. The pack also offers a one year subscription to Amazon Prime on the Airtel TV app.

So, next time, don’t let your frustration get the better of you. Click here to find a plan that’s right for you.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel and not by the Scroll editorial team.