Pune, Jan 5 (SocialNews.XYZ) A brilliant half-century by all-rounder Axar Patel and his blazing 91-run partnership with Suryakumar Yadav (51) went in vain as India failed to recover from early setbacks and lost to Sri Lanka by 16 runs in the second T20I of the three-match series at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium, here on Thursday.
Axar Patel hammered 6 sixes and two boundaries in his brilliant 31-ball 65 and Suryakumar Yadav and Shivam Mavi (26 off 15) dragged India from a precarious position to condition when they needed 20 off the last six deliveries.
But in the end, the task was too stiff for the Gujarat batter who played some sensational shots including three sixes off successive deliveries in the 14th over. Dasun Shanaka got him out in the final over as India's hopes ended.
India looked in deep trouble after losing four wickets for 34 runs and it became 57/5 in the 10th over before Yadav and Patel came together for a 91-run partnership that had the 30,460 spectators rocking and cheering.
However, in the end, it proved too good to last as they were restricted to 190/8, falling short by 16 runs as Sri Lanka levelled the three-match series 1-1.
It looked like India's chase would fizzle out as they lost four wickets in the first five overs with only 35 runs on the board.
Ishan Kishan (2) was done in by a superb in-swinger by Rajitha as he swung at one pitched wide and the ball sneaked in to hit the stumps. Gill played a nothing-shot, trying to drive one that pitched outside off, edging behind to Mendis.
Debutant Rahul Tripathi faced eventful five balls in the middle. He square drove Rajitha between point and cover for a four on the third ball of the second over but was struck on his helmet on the next ball, the delivery rearing up from short-of length and racing off for four leg-byes.
He was out to Madushanka on the first ball of the next over as the ball swung in from just outside off and took an edge off Tripathi's bat to Kusal Mendis behind the stumps.
And when skipper Hardik Pandya was out for 12, after a charmed stay at the wicket during which he struck a four (off Madushanka) and a six off Karunaratne, India were in deep trouble from which only Suryakumar Yadav could have saved them.
Suryakumar, who survived a clear run-out chance, brought out his customary 360-degree play and after Deepak Hooda was out for 9, found an able ally in Axar Patel as they brought up the hundred of the innings.
Patel hammered Wanindu Hasaranga for a hat-trick of sixes in the 14th over and with Suryakumar Yadav helping himself to a six, the over cost Sri Lanka 26 runs. They scored 15 runs off the next over -- thus ending up hitting 6 sixes in two overs as Axar Patel blazed his way to a half-century off 20 balls, hitting two fours and 6 sixes.
Suryakumar Yadav's fifty off 33 balls looked rather sedate but the carnage was too good to last as Yadav perished going for a big one off Madushanka, failing to pick the slower one and mis-hitting it to Dhananjay de Silva at long-on.
But with 57 needed off four overs and Yadav back in the dug-out, the task was quite stiff. Shivam Mavi struck Madushanka for 6-4-6 off the last three deliveries of the 18th over to bring the equation down to 33 off 12.
Sri Lanka 206/6 in 20 overs (Kusal Mendis 52, Dasun Shanaka 56 not out, Charith Asalanka 37, Pathum Nissanka 33; Umran Malik 3-48, Axar Patel 2-24) beat India 190/8 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 51, Axar Patel 65, Shivam Mavi 26; Dasun Shanaka 2-4, Kasun Rajitha 2-22, Dilshan Madushanka 2-45) by 16 runs