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Kusal Perera blitz leads Sri Lanka to winning start in Nidahas Trophy

Kusal Perera made a tremendous comeback
Kusal Perera made a tremendous comeback

Sri Lanka 175-5 (Kusal 66) beat
India 174-5 (Dhawan 90) by five wickets
1st game, Twenty20 International Tri-Series, Colombo

Kusal Perera announced his comeback with a blistering 66-run knock as Sri Lanka opened the Nidahas Trophy with a five-wicket win over India in Colombo.

Chasing 175 for a victory, Kusal Mendis (11) struck a couple of boundaries to begin the proceedings before he was deceived by Washington Sundar (2-28). In an eventful third over bowled by Shardul Thakur (0-42), Kusal (66) hit five boundaries and a six while Danushka Gunathilaka (19) hit a couple of sixes to bring the 50-run stand off just 18 deliveries.

Jaydev Unadkat (1-35) provided some respite for India when he had Gunathilaka caught at mid off but Sri Lanka still ended the powerplay strong with a score of 75 for two.

Kusal completed his 8th T20I fifty off 22 deliveries and by the halfway Sri Lanka were 101 for three after losing Dinesh Chandimal (14) to Yuzvendra Chahal (2-37), who also castled Upul Tharanga (17).

With Kusal also stumped off Sundar, India looked to have control as Sri Lanka needed 35 off the final four overs but Thisara Perera (22 not out) with his 10-ball cameo helped the hosts complete the chase in 18.3 overs with five wickets in hand.

Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bowl first. Rohit Sharma (0) and Suresh Raina (1) fell in the first two overs as India were dealt early blows.

Shikhar Dhawan (90) played the decisive knock that came in 49 deliveries and had six apiece of boundaries and maximums. He also shared 94 run stand with Manish Pandey (37) and another 49 with Rishabh Pant (23) but fell 10 short of a deserving century.

With India desperately needing a late flourish, Dinesh Karthik (13 not out) with his six-ball cameo helped them lift the total to 174 for five in the 20 overs.

Kusal was named the player of the match for setting up the win with his blistering knock.

India will now meet Bangladesh at the same venue on Thursday for the second game of the tournament.

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