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India–Sri Lanka T20 game on Star Sports sets 5-year viewership benchmark

MUMBAI: Star Sports has announced that the second game of the T20 India vs Sri Lanka series, broadcast on the Star Sports network, has become the highest-rated T20 international in the past five years.

The match, won comprehensively by India, rated 256 TVM, according to data provided by Star based on BARC CS4+ Urban data, surpassing the 112 TVM mark set by the India vs Pakistan first T20 game in 2012.

Anticipation added was high heading into the game as Sri Lanka had dealt India a crushing defeat in the opening tie. A close game appeared to be on the cards, but India’s batting order, led by a charge from southpaw Shikhar Dhawan, systematically picked apart Sri Lanka’s fearsome bowling attack on a dusty Ranchi pitch. The hosts scored 196, a total that proved insurmountable for Sri Lanka, with the visitors falling 69 runs short of the target.

Despite the promise of a hard-fought game going unfulfilled, India’s dominant performance kept fans entertained. The ratings the match garnered, which followed the crushing defeat India dealt Australia last month on their home turf, sets the stage for the next few months of explosive T20 action still to come with the Asia Cup, ICC World T20 and the IPL.

Star India COO Sanjay Gupta said, “This is a fantastic start to the T20 season of cricketainement that will be available on Star Sports up ahead. We have got the Asia Cup being played in the T20 format for the very first time, followed by India playing host to the ICC World T20, with the Vivo IPL closing the exciting T20 season. All the action from these tournaments will be broadcast live on Star Sports with the IPL available on Hotstar. India fans can expect a thoroughly enriched and immersive viewing experience this T20 season with innovations that will light up screens across platforms.”

The viewership garnered by the India–Sri Lanka match is reflective of a surge in interest in the shorter version of the game. T20 is fast becoming India’s most-loved format of play and data shows fans have been enthusiastically lapping up the action from recent T20 series including the India–South Africa and India–Australia contests. This trend is also evident on digital channels, with Hotstar recording a 1.5 times higher watch time per viewer on all the recent T20 series than last year’s edition of the IPL 2015.

The Men in Blue vie for Asian supremacy next, battling arch-rival Pakistan, defending World T20 champion Sri Lanka, cricket’s rising power Bangladesh and an Asian qualifier in the Micromax Asia Cup T20 starting on February 24 in Dhaka. Team India will face Bangladesh in the opening match of the tournament, which is being played for the first time in T20 format.

The Micromax Asia Cup 2016 airs live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3 and in HD on Star Sports HD 1 and Star Sports HD3 from 6:30 pm onwards and on Star’s digital platform Hotstar.