How many times in the recent past have we discussed about the Indian middle order failing tremendously?
The answer is too many times. However, the story finally changed on Saturday as Shreyas Iyer, and Sanju Samson played great knocks to get India home.
It was the second T20I between India and Sri Lanka where the hosts found themselves in all sorts of troubles.
India dominated most of the first inning, but the death overs saw a significant change in momentum. A great partnership between Nissanka and Shanaka scored 70 runs in the last four overs to take their team to a competitive over.
After conceding 183 runs in the first innings, India looked to have a great start with the bat in hand. It didn’t come through.
On the contrary, with momentum in their favour, Sri Lanka tremendously started the second inning as well.
They were able to remove Rohit Sharma in the very first over for a score of 1 and later claimed the wicket of Ishan Kishan for a cheap 16 off 15 as well.
At the end of the powerplay, India could only manage to score 46 runs and had already lost both their openers.
Sreyas Iyer to the rescue
Everyone thought that maybe this was finally the end of their 10-match winning streak. But Shreyas Iyer had different ideas on his mind.
The Mumbaikar was coming into this game with a pitch-perfect fifty in the last match. He got off to a similar start by smacking a straight drive to open his scoring with a boundary.
While other batters around him struggled to contain the Sri Lankan pace attack, Iyer played with an elegance he is known to possess.
First, he made a small partnership with Kishan. Following his departure, Shreyas Iyer joined forces with Sanju Samson to bring his team back on track.
The game started drifting away from Sri Lanka’s reach after Shreyas Iyer smashed Jayawickrama for two consecutive sixes in the 9th over. This showed the nick of form he was in.
Soon he brought up his fifth T20I fifty in the 11th over, while India started to look threatening.
Samson also joined the party as he smashed Lahiru Kumara for 22 runs in four balls in the 13th over before getting dismissed in the same over.
Blistering knock by Jadeja saw India over the line
His dismissal brought in Ravindra Jadeja, another player looking to make his comeback into the game after a long break.
While Sri Lanka would have thought that they might have a chance to get back into the game, Sir Jadeja ensured that it wouldn’t happen.
Jadeja threaded a splendid boundary in his first ball to open his account, and then there was no stopping him. In the next 17 balls he played, Jadeja hit seven fours and 1 six to sore 45 runs off just 17 balls.
As you can guess, this took a lot of pressure off Iyer’s back, who had done all the hard work until the point Jadeja walked in. Together the batters scored a 58-run partnership to win the game for their country.
At the end of the day, Iyer remained unbeaten at 77 off 44 balls. This is his highest score in a T20I.
If the Indian management considers forming a team around some players for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia, then Shreyas Iyer and Jadeja are undoubtedly two of them.
They can take the game deep, as well as complete a 180+ run chase in just 17 overs as they did on Saturday.
Also, Rohit Sharma has had a great start as a captain in the game’s shortest format. India has won the third series on the trot under his captaincy now and continued their winning streak in this format to 11 matches.
They will now be eyeing another whitewash on Sunday.