Chasing 133, Sri Lanka needed 20 runs to win the 2nd T20I in the last two overs. However, the third ball of the penultimate over, bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, was spanked for a maximum over wide long-on. Sri Lanka cantered to victory after that.
Speaking on his official YouTube channel, Butt praised the Indian bowlers for putting up a defiant show despite not having too many runs to defend. He also felt that the slippery conditions may have had a role to play in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s decisive full toss. Butt explained:
“There was a drizzle when Bhuvneshwar Kumar came on to bowl the 19th over because of which the ball and the field got wet. So it could be possible that the full toss ball, which went for a six, may have slipped out of Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s hands due to the wet conditions. India put up a commendable fight. They had only five batsmen available due to COVID. It was not easy for them given the circumstances but India really fought well.”
The former Pakistan opener further added that dew made life easier for Sri Lanka’s batsmen towards the end of the game. He said:
“The pitch was not good for batting and there was dew when Sri Lanka batted. Shikhar Dhawan was seen constantly drying the ball with a towel. When dew comes in, bowlers and fielders find it tough but things become easier for batting.”
Bhuvneshwar Kumar full toss changed the equation: Muttiah Muralitharan
Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan admitted that Chamika Karunaratne’s six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar went a long way in the hosts sealing the match. According to Muralitharan, had the experienced Indian pacer bowled a tight over, Sri Lanka could have found the going tough in the last over. Muralitharan told ESPN Cricinfo:
“132 was not a par score, but India gave a very good fight because it looked at one time we’ll win the match, but Dhananjaya played well and Karunaratne came and that six he hit off the full toss changed the course of the match and changed the equation. So, if we had 14-15 to chase in the last over, it would have been difficult for Sri Lanka.”
With the three-match T20I series locked 1-1, India and Sri Lanka will meet in the decider in Colombo on Thursday.