Rahul, Dhoni power India to 180-3 in first S. Lanka T20

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India
Rahul, Dhoni power India to 180-3 in first S. Lanka T20
Shukriya Pakistan

Opener Lokesh Rahul’s half-century and a late blitz from Mahendra Singh Dhoni fired India to 180 for three in the opening Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka.

Rahul smashed 61 off 48 balls to lay a solid foundation for the challenging total after the hosts were invited to bat in the first of the three matches.

But it was Dhoni (39) and Manish Pandey (32) who took the attack to the opposition bowlers during their unbeaten 68-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Dhoni hit 4 fours and a six during his 22-ball blitz while Pandey also hit the bowlers to all parts of the ground during his 18-ball stay.

Earlier Rahul, who replaced Shikhar Dhawan in the XI, put on a crucial 63-run stand with Shreyas Iyer, who made 24, after India a lost an early wicket.

Angelo Mathews got skipper Rohit Sharma caught at mid-on for 17 to check India’s surge after the openers gave the team a brisk start.

Rahul, who hit 7 fours and a six, carried on with his attacking play as he reached his second T20 fifty in 34 balls, prompting skipper Thisara Perera to rotate his bowling options.

The ploy worked as Sri Lanka took two quick wickets including that of Rahul and also managed to stem the flow of runs. Perera bowled Rahul on a well-disguised slower delivery.

But Dhoni and Pandey finished off the innings with a flurry of fours and sixes as India got 66 runs in the last five overs.

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