Rahul, Dhoni power India in first T20I

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (AP)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (AP)

Cuttack - Opener Lokesh Rahul's half-century and a late blitz from Mahendra Singh Dhoni fired India to 180 for three in the opening Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka.

Rahul smashed 61 off 48 balls to lay a solid foundation for the challenging total after the hosts were invited to bat in the first of the three matches.

But it was Dhoni (39) and Manish Pandey (32) who took the attack to the opposition bowlers during their unbeaten 68-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Dhoni hit 4 fours and a six during his 22-ball blitz while Pandey also hit the bowlers to all parts of the ground during his 18-ball stay.

Earlier Rahul, who replaced Shikhar Dhawan in the XI, put on a crucial 63-run stand with Shreyas Iyer, who made 24, after India a lost an early wicket.

Angelo Mathews got skipper Rohit Sharma caught at mid-on for 17 to check India's surge after the openers gave the team a brisk start.

Rahul, who hit 7 fours and a six, carried on with his attacking play as he reached his second T20 fifty in 34 balls, prompting skipper Thisara Perera to rotate his bowling options.

The ploy worked as Sri Lanka took two quick wickets including that of Rahul and also managed to stem the flow of runs. Perera bowled Rahul on a well-disguised slower delivery.

But Dhoni and Pandey finished off the innings with a flurry of fours and sixes as India got 66 runs in the last five overs.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 10232 votes
Cricket
11% - 2758 votes
Football
19% - 4622 votes
Athletics
2% - 605 votes
Boxing
1% - 230 votes
Cycling
2% - 561 votes
Golf
5% - 1220 votes
Motorsport
8% - 2037 votes
Tennis
3% - 823 votes
Water sports
1% - 218 votes
American sports
1% - 301 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 786 votes
Vote