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It was like Sri Lanka versus Surya, Indian skipper Pandya lauds batter for explosive knock against SL

Rajkot: Following his side's 91-run win over Sri Lanka in the third T20I, Indian skipper Hardik Pandya lauded Suryakumar Yadav for his explosive knock, saying that the match was Suryakumar versus Sri Lanka.
Suryakumar Yadav's blistering knock of 112 combined with a clinical performance of bowlers helped India register a thumping 91-run win over Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I to clinch the three-match series 2-1 here at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday. "Today, it felt like Sri Lanka vs Surya (Suryakumar). That is why Suryakumar is such an important player for us in white-ball cricket. The way he changes the game, the shots he plays, it just breaks the morale of the bowler. It helps the other batters as well," said Pandya in a press conference after the match.
Suryakumar lauded Rahul Tripathi for his quick knock of 35 off 16 balls.
"The kind of intent he showed - something which is so natural to him - can change the game and the momentum. If you see the first couple of overs, the ball was doing something, and people outside, even the next batter, they all thought there was something in the wicket. But because of his intent, the bowlers changed their length and all of a sudden the ball stopped moving. Then it was like they [Sri Lanka] were chasing the game," he added.
Pandya said that it is important to show intent while bowling.
"You look for a boundary. You see a good ball, you show it respect. But if you think defensive, you would not be able to put even a bad ball away. This pitch was suitable for batters once the ball got old," said the skipper.
On his captaincy, Pandya said that working with Gujarat Titans head coach Ashish Nehra made a big difference in his life.
"I had never led in junior cricket either. When I was in the Under-16s, I had led Baroda. After that, everyone felt I should focus on my cricket, and since then I have not led. But what has been very important from Gujarat's point of view is the kind of coach I worked with. Ashish Nehra made a big difference in my life. We might be two different personalities, but when it comes to cricket, our mindset and thoughts are very similar," he said.
"Because I was with him, it added more value to my captaincy. I always had the awareness of the game but it was about getting that assurance. It was about kind of backing what I always knew already, so it has definitely helped me," he added.
With this win, India has captured the three-match T20I series by 2-1.
India won the toss and elected to bat first. After Men in Blue lost Ishan Kishan (1) early, a quick cameo from Rahul Tripathi brought back some momentum to the innings. He scored 35 off just 16 balls, with five boundaries and two sixes. Shubman Gill was the anchor throughout.
Following Rahul's dismissal, India was already beyond the 50-run mark in their powerplay.
Suryakumar Yadav continued his red-hot form, smashing Lankan bowlers left and right. Gill was dismissed for 46 off 36 balls, ending a quickfire 111-run stand in just 53 balls.
Suryakumar brought up his third T20I ton in just 45 balls and ended the innings at 112* off 51 balls, with seven fours and nine sixes. Axar Patel (21*) also provided a nice cameo to power India to 228/5 in their 20 overs.
Dilshan Madushanka (2/55) was the pick of bowlers for visitors. Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kasun Rajitha got a wicket each.
Chasing 229, openers Kusal Mendis (23) and Pathum Nissanka (15) provided a good start to the visitors and they scored 44 in 4.5 overs before Axar trapped Kusal.
Following this dismissal, Lanka could not bounce back into the game and lost wickets consistently. Only Dhananjay de Silva (22) and skipper Dasun Shanaka (23) crossed the 20-run mark.
Lanka was bundled out for just 137 runs in 16.4 overs. Arshdeep Singh (3/20) impressed with the ball after an off-day at work in the 2nd T20I. Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal and Umran Malik took two wickets each while Axar got one.
Suryakumar was adjudged as 'Man of the Match' for his match-winning ton.
The three-match ODI series between both sides will start from January 10. (ANI)

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