Nidahas Trophy: A brief history
With India's tour of South Africa coming to an end, it is now time for fans to turn their attention to the Nidahas Trophy. This year, three nations will participate in this tournament i.e. India, Bangladesh and the hosts Sri Lanka. Each team will play two matches against each other and the top two teams in the points table will advance to the finals.
Last year, the cricket administration body Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed that the series would be played in the T20I format with all the matches held at Ranasinghe Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Nidahas Trophy was first organized in 1998 to acknowledge 50 years of Sri Lanka's independence and Sri Lanka Cricket. The series was played between Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand. The round-robin stage consisted of 9 qualifying matches with each side playing 3 matches against the others. Sri Lanka topped the round-robin stage with 3 wins and progressed to the finals. India became the second finalists despite winning just one game as New Zealand lost both of their non-rain affected matches.
The final clash between India and Sri Lanka was a nail-biter with the former emerging as the victorious side. India, under Mohammad Azharuddin's captaincy, won the Nidahas Trophy, 1998 by 6 runs. Riding on a record partnership for the first wicket in ODIs (252 runs) between Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, India posted a total of 307-6. In reply, Sri Lanka made 301 in 49.3 overs, falling short by just 6 runs.
Sachin was awarded the Man of the Match for his brilliant 128 that included 8 fours and 2 sixes. Sri Lanka's Aravinda de Silva was named the Player of the Series for scoring 368 runs and taking 1 wicket.
This year, the trophy is being played to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th year of independence. The series begins on Tuesday, March 06, with the opener being played between Sri Lanka & India. Following the recent ODI and T20I series win against South Africa, India enter the tournament as favourites.
Key Indian players like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have all been rested and this gives the side an opportunity to test their bench strength.