Indian Women defeated Sri Lanka in their 4th match of the ongoing World Cup by 16 runs to add another win to their unbeaten spree in the World Cup. India had defeated England, West Indies and Pakistan in the tournament before registering this win against the Lankans. Only Australia is ahead of Indian now on the points table on the basis of net run rate as they too have not lost a single match.
Winning the toss, Mithali Raj decided to bat first on the Derby pitch which has been proved effective in all their previous matches on the ground. Though losing the star performer Smriti quickly after the start, India did not collapse. The third wicket stand between Deepti Sharma and Mithali Raj for 118 runs is what laid the foundation for a strong total on the board. Both Mithali and Deepti looked out of touch as playing with a strike of 70 is what we generally see with these two batters. Deepti went on to score 78 off 110 with 10 fours and remained India’s highest scorer.
Not long after Deepti’s departure, Mithali was caught leg before wicket by Ranaweera. Sri Lanka just missed out a hattrick opportunity when Jhulan and Mithali were dismissed on consecutive balls and the new batswoman Harmanpreet Kaur nearly edged the next delivery to the keeper. The Lankans missed some regulation catches on the field which could have helped them restrict India to about 20 to 30 runs short. Their fielding display was not on par with we have seen so far from them. India managed to put up a score of 232 off 50 overs after some last minute shots from Sushma Verma and Veda Krishnamurthy.
Chasing 233 in the second innings, Sri Lanka had an early blow when Hasini Perera was caught by Mandhana at the score of 10. Three of the Lankan top order batswomen got decent starts on the pitch but could not continue to score something worthwhile. Chamari Atapattu, who scored 178 against Australia, was dismissed at 25 by Poonam Yadav when she missed a straight delivery on to the stumps trying a slog sweep. Only Dilani Manodara succeeded in scoring a half century which was her second in her ODI career. She helped Sri Lanka to 191 before being dismissed. Prasadini Weerakkody brought in some unorthodox play at the death to help Sri Lanka cross the line but felt short at the end.
India’s fielding was something exactly opposite of what we saw from the Lankans. A sharp run out of Ama Kanchana and some brilliant catches from Veda Krishnamurthy enforced the Sri Lankan on to the back foot.
“In the middle overs we really pulled ourselves and the dot balls pushed them to score in the end. Overall, our spinners did quite well,” Raj said after the match, “Cricket has evolved over the years because now we need to have more all-rounders, with bowlers who can bat in the slog overs and batsmen who can pick some wickets,”
“I have always enjoyed batting and stepping up when it’s required. I’m blessed to have the kind of openers and I can play probably a bit of my own game which I have had to hold up because of the kind of the responsibility I have had over the years,” she stated.
India will next face the South African women who have accumulated two wins out of their 4 matches and look in good shape after solid bowling performances against Pakistan and West Indies.