Speaking after the first T20 international of the tri-nation Nidahas Trophy against Sri Lanka, Shikhar Dhawan said that the difference between the performance of the Indian and Sri Lankan teams lay in the powerplay overs. He also credited Kusal Perera for his knock of 66 off 37 balls, which was instrumental in leading his team to victory with nine balls and five wickets to spare.
While India could only manage a score of 40 for 2 in the first six overs (being reduced to 9 for 2 at one point), Sri Lanka scored 75 for 2 in their powerplay courtesy a blazing knock by Kusal Perera. He smashed 27 runs off a Shardul Thakur over, which tipped the scales heavily in favour of the Sri Lankans. Dhawan said, “It was in the first six overs that they took the game away from us. After the first six overs even they weren’t hitting the ball that frequently – it wasn’t like 10 an over against the spinners in the middle overs. That’s because the wicket was a little slow.”
While he praised Perera’s knock, Dhawan also said that his team could have been more aggressive in the powerplay. “The way Perera scored that 27 runs in that over, they were 75 after six overs, that made the difference,” he said. “They took two wickets in the first two overs and that did the damage. We could have been more aggressive if we wouldn’t have lost wickets. We had to ensure we don’t lose any more wickets and also score runs. We were 10 runs short after six overs but I felt 174 was a good score but Perera took the game away by playing an amazing knock.”
Dhawan’s own knock of 90 off 49 balls was the highlight of the Indian batting innings. Reflecting on his innings, he said, “I have been playing very aggressive at the start, I know my game and that’s how I have been playing. I have been scoring runs at a quick pace. I was disappointed that I couldn’t score a century but at that time the team wanted to go after bowling, so I didn’t care if I get century or not. I am happy my consistency is going very good and I am enjoying it.”
Finally, the southpaw concluded by saying the team was looking forward to the next match. “We just lost one game, so it is a not a big deal, we will learn from it and go with all the positives in the next.”