Saini, Rahul help India defeat Lankans in T20

K L Rahul maintained his upper hand over Shikhar Dhawan in the race for the opener's slot with a classy knock as India outplayed Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the second T20 International on Tuesday. The convincing win gave the hosts an unassailable 1-0 lead in the three-match series. After reducing an inexperienced Sri Lanka to 142 for nine, Rahul (45 off 32) provided a perfect start, taking India to 54 for no loss in six overs. Eventually, Virat Kohli (30 not out off 17) and Shreyas Iyer (34 off 26), who batted ahead of the skipper at number three, fired India home in 17.3 overs. Iyer fell just before India crossed the finishing line as Kohli finished things with a spectacular six over deep fine leg. The third and final game of the series will be played in Pune on Friday. Dhawan (32 off 29), returning to action after missing the limited overs series against the West Indies due to injury, was not at his fluent best and could not keep up with Rahul at the other end.On a good batting surface, the inexperienced Sri Lanka batsmen squandered promising starts. Their job was made harder by Navdeep Saini (2/18), Shardul Thakur (3/23) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/38), who shared seven wickets among themselves. Coming from a three-month injury lay-off, lead pacer Jasprit Bumrah did not look at his best, ending with figures of 32 for one in four overs, the most expensive after Kuldeep.