It was India’s second consecutive defeat in the ‘Super 4s’ stage, after losing to Pakistan, and now leaves them with only the game against Afghanistan in hand and a very, very slim outside chance of sneaking into the final.
Madushanka, who came into this match against India with a cumulative experience of just three T20Is under his belt, dealt the Men in Blue a huge blow when he uprooted Virat Kohli’s stumps in the third over of India’s innings. Virat, who had scored a 44-ball 60 in India’s last match against Pakistan and was looking for another big score to consolidate his run of form, was sent back for a four-ball duck. India were reduced to 13/2.
(Virat Kohli was cleaned up by Dilshan Madushanka for a duck – ANI Photo)
Madushanka then came back to strike two more blows — clean bowling the potentially explosive Deepak Hooda and making him walk back to the hut for 3 off 4 balls and then removing the dangerous Rishabh Pant for 17 midway through the 19th over, ensuring that the defending champions didn’t have a specialised batter in the middle in the last nine deliveries of their innings. India managed to score 15 runs off the last nine balls of their innings.
Madushanka registered his career-best T20I stats of 3/24 in the game against India.
Son of a fisherman from the nondescript town of Hungama in Hambantota, Madushanka’s shift from a soft-ball sensation to Sri Lanka’s latest fast-bowling sensation is a story of hope, which he never lost despite resistance against cricket from his father in his growing years.
His move to soft-ball cricket was reportedly driven by failure to cope with the financial demands of proper leather-ball cricket. Ironically, it was his heroics with the soft ball that earned him recognition.
He made his international debut, in fact, at the ongoing Asia Cup itself, in a league game against Afghanistan. And he hasn’t looked back since.
A nippy left-arm medium-fast bowler with the ability to swing the ball into the right-handed batters, Madushanka has got a head-start to his career, with his mid-tournament Asia Cup report card boasting of the wicket of Virat Kohli, comprehensively bowled for zero. Up next, the T20 World Cup beckons the 21-year-old youngster.
T20Is: 4 matches, 6 wickets, best of 3/24, average 16.00, economy 7.38
First-class matches: 8
List-A matches: 1
Domestic T20s: 12