Sri Lanka beats India by 5 wickets in the tri-nation opener

Sri Lanka's Dasun Shanaka, facing camera, celebrates with Thisara Perera after defeating India by five wickets in their Twenty20 cricket match in Nidahas Triangular series in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Kusal Perera smashed 66 runs off 37 deliveries to guide Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over India in the opening match of the Independence Cup three-nation Twenty20 tournament

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Kusal Perera smashed 66 runs off 37 deliveries to guide Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over India in the opening match of the Independence Cup three-nation Twenty20 tournament on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and elected to field first and India made 174-5 in 20 overs. Sri Lanka reached their target with nine deliveries to spare, winning a Twenty20 game against India after seven straight losses.

Sri Lanka's bowlers gave their team a good start, taking two wickets for nine runs, but Shikar Dhawan and Manish Pandey held the Indian innings together by sharing 95 runs for the third wicket.

Dhawan cracked six sixes and six boundaries for a 49-ball 90. Manish Pandey made 37.

Jeevan Mendis took two wickets for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka lost opener Kusal Mendis with the score on 12 before Perera led the attack reaching his half-century in 22 deliveries.

However, Indian spinners Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal took crucial wickets to give India hope by leaving Sri Lanka 136-5. ButThisara Perera (22 not out) and Dasun Shanaka (15 not out) took Sri Lanka to victory in the 19th over.

Sundar and Chahal took two wickets each for India.

"This is a good start for the tournament. This is all about trust and confidence in each other," Chandimal said.

India captain Rohit Sharma said his batsmen could have scored quicker toward the end.

"The kind of start they got was amazing, a lot of credit goes to Sri Lanka team as well," he said.

Bangladesh is the third team in the tournament.

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