India trounced Sri Lanka in a thrilling encounter at Colombo on 10 Feb 2009. The 20-20 match was the first of its kind to be played in Sri Lanka. But the hosts had to face disappointment as India pulled off a sensational victory.
Batting first the hosts managed to score 171 runs in the allotted 20 overs. It was again T Dilshan who scored a solid 61 runs off 47 balls that included seven boundaries and a six. He was well assisted by the veteran Jayasuriya who scored 33 runs. Jayasuriya caused equal damage as he managed four hits to the boundary which had two sixes! The team however could not build on the momentum and end up with 171 on the scoreboard. Yusuf Pathan was the pick of the bowlers, he picked two wickets conceding a paltry 23 runs.
The Indian chase was not the best, to say the least! The side lost its deadly maverick opener Virender Sehwag cheaply to a runout and in no time the side was reeling under pressure with four wickets down. The Indian ship looked a little shaky but then came to the ‘gladiator‘ Pathan brothers. Yusuf Pathan and Irfan Pathan played fine innings to rescue the team. Both brothers pulverized the bowling and brought the required rate within striking distance with their lusty hitting. They both struck two sixes each to score 22 and 33 runs. Irfan finished the match in style with a six of Lasith Malinga, a delectable shot which was aired repeatedly by news channels in India!
The blitzkrieg left the fans supporting the home team stunned as the hosts looked comfortable at one point in time. But then, one cannot say anything till the last bowl has been bowled in a match in cricket! And that is precisely what happened in this match.
I remember Chetan Sharma being hit for a boundary by Miandad. The boundary off the last ball won Pakistan the match. That particular strike went down in the history and spelled doom for Sharma’s career. Yesterday’s strike of Irfan which won India the match resembled that strike though it cannot be compared with the Miandad’s strike as it was an India -Pakistan encounter which is always charged with emotions, hence that shot was remembered in the decades to come!
India won the One-day international series too by 4-1 in style. Beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka has always been a challenge and India did what was once perceived as a near impossibility. The series victory seems to have rubbed off on the Sri Lankan skipper who has announced his decision to relinquish his captaincy following the Pakistan tour.
Well, for India its all’s well that ends well but for Sri Lanka, there seems to be a long way to go and lessons to be learnt from this series.