Sylhet: Jemimah Rodrigues’ 76-run knock and bowlers helped India women’s cricket team defeat Sri Lanka by 41 runs in their first Women’s Asia Cup 2022 tie at Sylhet Outer Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Chasing a tricky 151 Sri Lanka openers Harshitha Samarawickrama and skipper Chamari Athapaththu started off well scoring 13 runs in the very first over bowled by Renuka Singh.
Deepti Sharma gave India the first breakthrough by dismissing the Sri Lankan captain for 5 as the Islanders lost their first wicket for 25 in the fourth over. In the fifth over they lost another wicket as Malsha Shehani was run out by Deepti for 9. Sri Lankan batters kept throwing away their wickets as opener Harshitha Samarawickrama was run out by Smriti Mandhana for 26.
Hasini Perera and Nilakshi de Silva then somehow took their team’s total beyond the 50-run mark. Nilakshi was sent packing by Pooja Vastrakar for 3 as Sri Lankans lost their fourth wicket for 56. Vastrakar struck for the second time in her second over dismissing Kavisha Dilhari for 1 as Sri Lanka lost half of their side for 61.
Hasini Perera and Anushka Sanjeewani fought to bring some sanity to proceedings but the 20-run partnership was broken when the latter was dismissed by Radha Yadav’s leg before wicket for 5.Perera and Oshadi Ranasinghe somehow took Sri Lanka’s total beyond the triple-figure mark.
This partnership was also broken when right-arm off-break bowler Dayalan Hemalatha dismissed Ranasinghe for 11 to leave her side tottering at 102/7. In the same over the 28-year-old Hemalatha got her second wicket dismissing Sugandika Kumari cheaply. Hasini Perera’s resistance also broke as she was dismissed for 30.
Achini Kulasuriya’s wicket by Hemalatha helped India register a thumping 41-run win to make a winning start to the Women’s Asia Cup 2022.
Earlier in the day, put to bat first by Sri Lanka, India was off to a miserable start as both the openers Shafali Verma (10) and Smriti Mandhana (6) were dismissed within the first four overs, with spinner Sugandika Kumari getting Mandhana and pacer Oshadi Ranasinghe getting Shafali, whose series of low scores got another addition.
India were at 23/2.At the end of the powerplay in six overs, India stood at 33/2, with the new pair of skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (0*) and Jemimah Rodrigues (17*) on the crease.
Kaur and Rodrigues continued to rebuild the innings following two early hiccups. Rodrigues showed a lot of attacking intent, finding gaps at will and even hitting Kavisha Dilhari for a huge six-over long-on while coming down the pitch.
At the end of 10 overs, India’s score read 61/2, with Kaur (6*) and Rodrigues (39*). The duo brought up their 50-run stand in 43 balls. Rodrigues also brought up her half-century in 38 balls, her eighth in the format. The duo helped Women in Blue cross the 100-run mark in 14 overs.
With six overs to go, Team India needed these two batters to launch another gear and score big in the coming death overs.At the end of 15 overs, India stood at 104/2, with Rodrigues (60*) and Kaur (27*).
The duo kept the scoreboard ticking, Ranasinghe got her second wicket of the match, dismissing Harmanpreet for 33 off 30 balls, after she was stumped by wicketkeeper Anushka Sanjeewani. The 92-run stand between the duo was finally broken.
Dayalan Hemalatha was the next batter on the crease. Inoka Ranaweera was hit for two fours by Rodrigues, who looked very well on way to scoring a possible century. Just when Rodrigues was looking threatening, SL skipper Chamari Athapaththu castled her stumps with a low-kept length ball. India was now at 135/4 in 18 overs. The batter was out for 76 off 53 balls with 11 fours and a six.
Richa Ghosh was next up on crease, joining Hemlatha to see India through the final twelve balls. But she could not do her job as Ranasinghe trapped her leg before wicket to remove her for nine runs off six balls, to get her third wicket of the match. With one over to go, India was at 145/5 and their chances at a competitive score had taken another hit. Pooja Vastrakar was the next one to join Hemlatha.
Vastrakar was run out for just one run. Deepti Sharma was next up on the crease. She took a single on the final ball to help India touch the 150-run mark. India finished at 150/6 in their 20 overs, with Deepti (1*) and Hemlatha (13*).Ranasinghe was the leading bowler for SL as she got 3/32 in her four-over spell. Kumari and Athapathtu got one wicket each.