VISAKHAPATNAM: India captain MS Dhoni feels consistency is key in the run-up to the World T20 after his side trounced Sri Lanka by nine wickets to clinch the three-match series 2-1 in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
Premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged a career-best four for 8 in T20 cricket to help India skittle out the visitors for 82 — Sri Lanka’s lowest T20 score — before cantering home in 13.5 overs.
Continuing their winning run after the 3-0 triumph in Australia, India overcame the first loss in Pune to get the better of a depleted Sri Lankan side in the next two games.
“I feel it was a very good game, it was important we restricted them to a decent total. Ashwin was the pick but he was well supported by the others,” said Dhoni.
“In between you will lose one or two games. We want to keep playing the way we’re playing. Consistency will give us the confidence. Eight seasons of the IPL (Indian Premier League) has given us the experience.”
It was India’s night all the way after Ashwin, who was given the new ball by Dhoni, struck twice in the very first over to remove the Sri Lankan openers.
The Sri Lankan scorecard painted a sorry picture with just Dasun Shanaka (19) and Tisara Perera (12) managing double figures as the rest of the batting collapsed.
Sri Lanka though had a few moments to enjoy after top-scorer Shanaka smashed a couple of sixes during his 24-ball stay, but the visitors suffered from a lack of partnerships.
“We didn’t perform well throughout the series as batsmen. If we got 140-plus, we would have had a chance, but we didn’t do that. Losing wickets happens with an inexperienced team,” said Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal.
“I’m impressed with our bowlers, (Dasun) Shanaka and (Dushmantha) Chameera. We need to regroup as a team.”
India probably ticked all the boxes after their opening loss in Pune to not only bowl or bat well, but also get their fielding act together in the three-match series.
India’s ground fielding was highlighted by Jadeja running out Seekkuge Prasanna with a direct hit on Sunday.
With most of the pressure off their backs, the Indian batsmen did their job to bring up another T20 series’ win after their 3-0 triumph in Australia recently.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan, who hit a maiden T20 fifty in the team’s last win on Friday, continued his fine run with an unbeaten 46 to help the hosts register their biggest T20 win in terms of balls remaining.
Rohit Sharma was cleaned up by Chameera but that was only a hiccup in India’s march towards victory as Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane put on an unbeaten 55-run stand.
Dhawan remained the top-scorer in the series with 106 runs from three games while Ashwin was named the man of the series for his nine wickets.
“I hope this lasts forever,” said Ashwin. “The ball is coming out pretty well. I’ve been working pretty hard, I want to contribute to the team rather than being a deficiency,” said the lanky off-spinner.
It was Dhoni’s first T20 bi-lateral series win on home soil as the World T20 hosts hammered home their status as one of the favourites for the title in March.