Tuesday, 17 May, 2022
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Iyer stars as India record 12th straight T20I win

Shreyas Iyer hit an unbeaten 73 to lead India to a record-equalling 12th successive Twenty20 international victory as they whitewashed Sri Lanka in the three-match series on Sunday.

Chasing 147 for victory, India romped home with 19 balls to spare propelled by Iyer's third successive unbeaten half-century. They won by six wickets in the Himalayan hill town of Dharamsala.

India, who climbed to number one in world T20 rankings after their 3-0 sweep of West Indies earlier this month, have remained unbeaten since the loss to New Zealand in the World Cup last year.

India drew level with Afghanistan, who won 12 straight T20I matches between February 2018 to September 2019.

Skipper Rohit Sharma said it is good to have players taking their chances and performing in the year of the T20 World Cup as the hosts won the series without Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant.

"We just want to move forward. It's going to be a big challenge but it's nice to have guys in form rather than not in form," Rohit said after the win.

"If the guys take the opportunity the way some of these guys have taken, you can move from strength to strength."

The bowlers set up the win, restricting Sri Lanka to 146 for five despite skipper Dasun Shanaka's unbeaten 74 off 38 deliveries.

In reply, India lost Rohit, who became the most capped T20I player overtaking Pakistan's Shoaib Malik (124 matches), for five in the second over of the chase.

The in-form Iyer, who hit nine fours and one six in his 45-ball knock, then took charge to put on 48 runs with wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson who fell for 18.

Iyer, who stands unbeaten in the series after not out scores of 57 and 74 in the first two wins, kept up the pace to reach his fifty with a six off 29 deliveries.

- 'Finish off games' -

Lahiru Kumara took two wickets including Deepak Hooda for 21, but Iyer remained unstoppable in a 45-run unbeaten partnership with Ravindra Jadeja, who made 22.

"I am not keeping any expectation from myself nor from the team coaches because the competition in our team is immense and every individual is capable of winning you games," Iyer, who was named man of the match and series, told reporters.

"I want to enjoy each and every moment and opportunity that I have been provided with and I like to finish off the game and that's my mindset."

Earlier Sri Lanka lost their top four batsmen for 29 runs after they elected to bat, but Shanaka hit back with nine fours and two sixes in his blitz.

Shanaka, who made 47 not out in his team's second loss, went past his T20I best of 54 to hammer the bowlers and put on an unbeaten stand of 86 with Chamika Karunaratne, who made 12.

Pace bowler Mohammed Siraj struck in the opening over as Danushka Gunathilaka dragged a short delivery onto to the stumps.

Then, Avesh Khan removed Pathum Nissanka, for one, and Charith Asalanka, for four, in his first two overs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal and Shanaka attempted to rebuild in a 31-run fifth-wicket stand that was broken by medium-pace bowler Harshal Patel.

Patel sent back Chandimal for 25.

Shanaka stood firm to launch an attack as he reached his fifty with a boundary off Avesh.

The two teams now head to Mohali for the first of two Tests - Kohli's 100th five-day game - starting Friday.