Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has opined that Sri Lanka got the better of India in the second T20I courtesy their tactical brilliance, which caught the visitors off-guard. Raja stated that Sri Lanka prepared a slow pitch that worked to their advantage and exposed the weaknesses in India’s batting lineup.
Forced to go in with only five batters due to the COVID situation in the camp, India managed only 132/5, batting first in the second T20I. Sri Lanka chased down the target with four wickets to spare and leveled the three-match series 1-1.
Analyzing the match on his YouTube channel, Raja praised Sri Lanka for backing their strengths and coming up with clever tactics with respect to pitch preparations. He stated:
“I had said before that if Sri Lanka prepare a difficult pitch to bat on, then they can beat India. In English, we call it a tacky surface, where you have to work hard for your runs. I think Sri Lanka prepared a similar pitch for the second T20I, which is why they won in the end.
Raja also believed that Sri Lanka’s "brain-thrust outsmarted India" tactically.
“The surface matters a lot as you can select your team in a better manner and can prepare a sound strategy. You can also nullify the opposition’s strength. This is exactly what Sri Lanka did. The ball wasn’t coming on to the bat, change of pace was the order of the day for bowlers.”
The former Pakistan cricketer also felt India suffered from their lack of available options.
“India fought hard but they had limited options. Because of COVID, most of their key players were not available for selection. Still, they made life tough for Sri Lanka. But a win is a win and Sri Lanka can learn a lot from this victory, on how to play to their strengths and nullify those of the opponent’s.”
Knew if we restricted India to a low score we could chase it down: Sri Lankan captain
Following a much-needed victory in the 2nd T20I, Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka admitted that the team’s ploy was to restrict India to a low score after they won the toss and bowled first. He asserted that Sri Lanka were confident of chasing down the target once they held India to just 132. Speaking at the post-match conference, Shanaka said:
“We knew that if we restricted them to a low score we could chase it down. Our strategy was to go hard in the first six overs but we were not able to do so. DDS (Dhananjaya de Silva) and Wanindu Hasaranga batted really well, (Minod) Bhanuka and Chamika (Karunaratne) as well. It's important that all players perform, it's a big plus point for us.”
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Dhananjaya de Silva was the man of the match in the 2nd T20I for his unbeaten 40 while Minod Bhanuka contributed a crucial 36 at the top of the order.