Speaking after winning the close game, Indian captain Hardik Pandya said that he wants the team to learn how to tackle tough situations. Although India did not put up a convincing performance, they did manage to sneak home in the end.
Sri Lanka needed 13 runs to win off the last over. Pandya, surprisingly, gave the last over to left-arm spinner Axar Patel. He managed to bowl India to victory, but only just. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Pandya opened up about the decision.
He explained, “We might lose a game here and there but it’s alright. I want to put this team in difficult situations because it will help us in big games. Bilaterals we are very good at and this is how we are going to challenge ourselves. To be honest, all the young guns got us out of the situation today.”
There was another fitness scare for Pandya. He left the field after taking a catch, but came back soon. Asked if there was anything serious, the all-rounder asserted, “It is just cramps. Now I have tendency to scare people. I did not sleep well, did not drink enough water and hence the glutes were stiff. I was unwell and I had my fluids down.”
The match against Sri Lanka saw two Indians make their T20I debut. One of them, Shivam Mavi, had an excellent outing. The pacer claimed 4/22 in his four overs, dismissing Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana. Praising Mavi, Pandya said, “The conversation was very simple, I have seen him (Mavi) bowl well in the IPL and I know what are his strengths, just back yourself and don’t worry about getting hit.
“I just told him to simply bowl. I told him, ‘I am backing you. Even if you get hit, it’s fine.’ If the same situation is there, I will take the new ball. I have been bowling in the nets with the new ball since I returned in the IPL. I have learnt how to swing it back.”
Deepak Hooda (41* off 23) was the Player of the Match for fine knock.
--By A Cricket Correspondent