India, led by Hardik Pandya, began the new year with a narrow 2-run victory over Sri Lanka, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Shivam Mavi starred in his debut, taking 4 wickets for 22 runs to bowl Sri Lanka out for 160. Deepak Hooda also played a key role with a 23-ball 41 that helped India reach 162/5.
Despite strong performances from Mavi and Hooda, it was Hardik Pandya’s decision to give the ball to Axar Patel in the final over that ultimately secured the win for India, as Patel managed to defend the remaining 11 runs needed for Sri Lanka’s victory.
Mavi began his debut strong by dismissing Nissanka in his first over. He then took out De Silva in his next over, while Pandya also applied pressure on the Sri Lankan top order with a mix of inswingers and outswing deliveries, even though he did not take any wickets.
During the middle overs of the match, Umran Malik and Harshal Patel contributed to the dismissal of several Sri Lankan batsmen, but a quick partnership between Dasun Shanaka and Wanindu Hasaranga swung the game in Sri Lanka’s favor. However, Umran Malik struck again by dismissing Shanaka with a fast delivery, and Mavi took two more wickets to put Sri Lanka in a difficult position.
Despite a strong effort from Chamika Karunaratne in the 19th over, Sri Lanka faced a daunting task in the final over, needing 13 runs to win. Hardik Pandya took a risk by giving the ball to Axar Patel, who gave up a six on the first delivery but managed to limit the runs and secure a narrow 2-run victory for India.