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India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka with a four-wicket win in the second match in Kolkata on January 12. Sri Lanka’s innings collapsed for just 215, with Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj proving effective with three wickets each. The Indian top-order struggled for the big knocks but KL Rahul’s unbeaten 64 proved enough to secure an easy win with 40 balls remaining.
Kuldeep replaced injured legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal and took the opportunity with open arms. He broke the crucial partnership between Kusal Mendis and debutant Nuwanidu Fernando and then grabbed the valuable wickets of Charith Asalanka and Dasun Shanaka. Meanwhile, Nuwanidu, who replaced injured opener Pathum Nissanka, scored fifty on his debut but Sri Lanka’s innings collapsed.
While chasing a manageable target, India lost their top-order early, but Hardik Pandya’s 36-run knock and Rahul unbeaten fifty guided them to a series win. Both teams will clash in the third and final ODI in Thiruvananthapuram on January 15.
Talking Points from IND vs SL, 1st ODI:
Kuldeep Yadav makes a point, yet again:
Kuldeep got another rare opportunity as Chahal suffered a minor injury in the last match. Kuldeep took this opportunity and made a mark as he dismissed Kusal Mendis when Sri Lanka were dominating the game with 102/1 on the scoreboard. He then put India in complete control with Dasun Shanaka and Charith Asalanka’s wickets. The spinner also scored the winning runs by smashing a four to prove his worth again. With the 2023 One-Day World Cup coming up, Kuldeep’s performance will help him cement his place in India’s ODI squad.
KL Rahul silences critics:
The star wicketkeeper batter was under a lot of pressure for his inconsistent performances across formats lately, especially for his defensive approach while opening. But he silenced his critics with a match-winning knock of 64* off 103 with the help of six fours. However, this time, his defensive approach helped the team as India kept losing other batters from another end.
Losing Captain, Dasun Shanaka Said:
We were in the game but didn’t have not runs in the game. I think at the start we discussed about 280 but Kuldeep bowled well. We had a chance as the ball was moving. So I told my bowlers to stick to the basics.
Winning Captain, Rohit Sharma said:
It was a close game but games like these teach you a lot. KL has been batting at 5 for a long time now, it gives you that confidence when an experienced batter is batting at 5. It was a good display of batsmanship. In the hindsight, it will be nice to have a left-hander in the top order but guys who are being given the chance have got a lot of runs in the last one year. Ideally, we would like to have a left-hander but we know the quality of our right-handers and are quite comfortable with that at the moment. We will have a look at the pitch for the third ODI, and another ODI series is coming up as well. So we will see if we need to make any changes. Kuldeep just comes and gets the breakthrough, he is quite confident as a bowler at the moment, which augurs well for the team.
Player of the Match, Kuldeep Yadav said:
I am happy with my performance. Since the last one year, I have been trying to back my strength and not think much. Whenever I get my chance, I just think about performing well. I am enjoying my bowling a lot. The team combination matters, so I just try to give my best whenever I get my chance. I bowl the faster in the IPL and T20Is also to give the batter one run. So I just did that here also. I have worked on my batting a lot of late. Same with the fitness. Whenever I get time, I go to the NCA. So thanks to the trainers there. That’s one thing I have tried to do in the last one year. Earlier, I wasn’t much into it. Chahal too gave me inputs about their batters.
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