At the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, KL Rahul put on a show as India overcame a difficult test from Sri Lanka to win the second ODI and clinch the series 2-0 with one game remaining. India needed to chase down just 216 to win the game, but they lost wickets early, giving Sri Lanka hope. However, Rahul's tenacity, along with his wise partnership with Hardik Panda and Kuldeep Yadav's finishing touches, ensured that the estimated 50000 spectators at the Eden Gardens were not disappointed.
At the beginning of the game, it did not seem as though Sri Lanka would lose so quickly. After losing Avishka Fernando early, Sri Lanka saw Kusal Mendis and Nuwanida Fernando, who was making his debut, form a potent 73 run partnership. Before Kuldeep Yadav worked his magic, the pair brought the side to a comfortable 103.
The chinaman bowler, who was selected for the team in Yuzvendra Chahal's place, once more demonstrated his value by shattering the Sri Lankan batting order. To hold Sri Lanka back in the middle overs, he dismissed Mendis and also claimed the significant wickets of Charith Asalanka and the hot-shot Dasun Shanka. Wanindu Hasaranga and Chamika Karunaratne were both decisively fired by the fiery Umran Malik in a similar manner, which added to his impressive performance. Mohammed Siraj provided the finishing touch by dismissing all remaining batters after taking an early wicket, limiting Sri Lanka to just 215 runs.
Given their top three's outstanding performance, it seemed at first like a total that India would be able to easily surpass. Although both the captain, Rohit Sharma, and the backup, Shubman Gill, were back in the game after a flashy start. With India at 62/3, the game appeared to be far from being an easy one for Virat Kohli, who had just scored a century. Kohli could only add four runs to India's total before being dismissed by Lahiru Kumara.
After Kasun Rajitha trapped Shreyas Iyer in front, Iyer left as well, and from that point on, Rahul and Hardik stole the show. Given that the total wasn't particularly concerning, the two withstood the pressure that Sri Lanka applied, took their time, and scored whenever they had the chance. Before Hardik's dismissal brought in an in-form Axar Patel, who hit some fine shots before being caught in the deep, they added 75 runs for the fifth wicket. Finally, Kuldeep Yadav scored the winning runs as Rahul led the team to victory.
India will enter the third One-Day International feeling very confident as they attempt to complete a series victory. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, would want to finish the tour on a high note by striving hard for one consolation victory.