India (W) Crush Sri Lanka (W) in Women’s Asia Cup: Defeating a self-destructing Sri Lanka by eight wickets in Saturday’s final at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, Sylhet, India retained their Women’s Asia Cup dominance for the seventh time in eight editions.
India (W) Crush Sri Lanka (W) in Women’s Asia Cup
After opting to bat on a slow, turning pitch, Sri Lanka imploded in their first tournament final in 14 years. Despite their best efforts, they could only manage 65 for nine, which India threw away in 8.3 overs. The sublime 51 not out that Smriti Mandhana scored off 25 balls was an outstanding performance.
A mix up with Anushka Sanjeewani led to Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Athapaththu being run out in the third over.
The first ball Renuka faced was returned by Hasini Perera, who has been in excellent form since the Commonwealth Games. Sri Lanka is at nine for four after the left-hander checked her shot only to be caught at cover.
As Kavisha Dilhari tried to beat an incoming Renuka delivery across the line, she was bowled, making Sri Lanka 16 for five.
When Nilakshi de Silva tried to cut a ball close to her body, Rajeshwari Gayakwad played on to her stumps. Ranaweera saved them from ignominy with an unbeaten 18 off 22 balls after they fell to 32 for eight.
While Sri Lanka’s steep decline was more due to poor shot selection than disciplined bowling, the Indians bowled with discipline. Sri Lanka seemed to have been overcome by the occasion after their memorable semifinal win over Pakistan.
Jemimah Rodrigues and Shafali Verma were lost cheaply in the run chase for India. While Shafali returned to form and Jemimah made a successful comeback from injury, both batters performed well in the tournament.
Alongside skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (11 not out off 14), Mandhana played some exquisite strokes. Among Smriti’s six boundaries and three sixes, she hit three sixes. Oshadi Ranasinghe’s maximum sealed the win for her.
A win like this is a shot in the arm for India’s preparations for next year’s T20 World Cup. During the competition, they tested players for different roles, but they also lost against Pakistan in the league stage, their only loss.
Following their triumph at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, the Indians snapped with the entire groundstaff, a fine gesture witnessed by a large crowd.
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