Team India suffered a defeat by 16 runs against Sri Lanka in the second T20I of the three-match series on Thursday. The hosts asked Sri Lanka to bat first and Dasun Shanaka-led visitors posted a mammoth 206/6 in 20 overs. Captain Shanaka hit a stormy 56 off 22 balls while opener Kusal Mendis scored a quickfire 52 runs for the visitors. Chasing the big target, India lost half their side by the start of tenth over and were 57/5. Saviours Suryakumar Yadav and all-rounder Axar Patel stitched the highest partnership in T20Is for India at the sixth wicket and scored 91 runs together. After Surykumar got out, with India being 148/6, Axar and Shivam Mavi carried on the blitzkrieg. But the asking rate got too tall on india’s tailenders and they could manage 190/8 in 20 overs.
In their bowling, Hardik Pandya and Co. conceded seven no-balls leading to seven free-hits for Sri Lanka in the match. Pacer Arshdeep Singh bowled the second over during the visitors’ innings and conceded three consecutive no-balls which went for ten runs as he delivered the nine-ball over, giving away 19 runs in total. The shocking gaffe gave the perfect momentum to Sri Lanka’s innings. In further shock to the fans, Arshdeep bowled two no-balls in the 19th over too and conceded 18 runs in the eight-ball over. One no-ball each by pacers Shivam Mavi and Umran Malik, just rubbed salt into the wounds for Team India as Sri Lanka piled up the huge target.
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Cricket experts put the blame on the ‘no-ball debacle’ as the main reason for India’s loss. Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir weighed in on the matter in the post-match discussion on Star Sports. He opined that Arshdeep’s immediate return to the playing XI after a long layoff, was the reason of his erratic non-rhythmic bowling.
“Imagine seven balls, it’s like bowling more than 21 overs. Everyone bowls bad balls or plays bad shots but it’s about the rhythm. If you are coming after an injury, you should not be playing an international game,” said Gambhir.
“You should be going to domestic cricket and getting your rhythm back because no-balls are not acceptable. Whoever is injured and there is a long layoff, he has to go back to domestic cricket, bowl 15-20 overs, come back and then play an international game, and that was squarely seen when Arshdeep Singh was struggling with his rhythm,” he added.