Debutant fast bowler Shivam Mavi was a star in the opening Twenty20 International (T20I) match on Tuesday between India and Sri Lanka. With his fast bowling and four-wicket haul, Mavi helped secure India’s narrow two-run victory over Sri Lanka.
With figures of 4-22, Mavi also became the third Indian men’s cricketer to take four wickets in a T20I debut. In the aftermath of the match, Mavi stated in an interview, “I was waiting for this moment for the last six years. Had injuries in between and it felt my dream will never come true.”
During the match, the 24-year-old bowler gave a strong start when he picked up two wickets and took out Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva. Mavi also had plenty of support from fellow pace bowlers Umran Malik and Harshal Patel, who helped by picking up two wickets each.
Other stars in the match were Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel. They were the ones to turn the tables on Sri Lanka and brought India to 162 for five wickets in 20 overs.
When the game went down to the wire, Axar also managed to defend 13 runs in the final over. Added with a deep knock from Deepak added and Mavi’s figures, the trio had led India to victory in the final innings.
At the start of the match, Sri Lanka had won the toss and chose to bowl. Initially, India had lost some wickets before Hooda and Patel turned things around and had Sri Lanka chasing a target of 163. If not for Chamika Karunaratne scoring 23 runs in the last innings, Sri Lanka would not have ended with the score they did.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka and Hasaranga had attempted to put the chase back on track in a 40-run partnership, but Mavi broke the stand with the wicket of Hasaranga for 21.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka provided some resistance as well, scoring 45 off 27, but the team ended up falling short of their target.
Aside from the different efforts of both teams, Team India had another debutant, Shubman Gill. Gill did not have as big an impact as Mavi, but he managed to get 7-runs before falling for seven to spinner Maheesh Theekshana.
At the end of the match, India finished with a total of 162/5 and takes the lead 1-0 for the T20I series.
The second T20I of the series will be held at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Wednesday.
Before the T20I matches, bowler Hardik Pandya had been confirmed as captain for India’s T20 matches.
During the match, Hardik decided to bowl the first over and gave a superb performance, conceding only 12 runs in his three-over spell.
While India has shown a great performance in their matches so far (having recently done a sweeping victory in a Test Series against Bangladesh), many fans are expecting great things with Hardik as captain. Especially since Hardik led the team to victory in a T20I series against West Indies and New Zealand.
Shivam Mavi, on the other hand, only played FC (First-Class Cricket) Matches and List A Cricket Matches before this, so there is no telling how the debutant will do in future international matches.