All-round India warm up with eight-wicket win
Spinners restrict Sri Lanka Women to 125/4 before VR Vanitha and Smriti Mandhana lead the way to victory
12 March 2016 22:43
Vanitha VR anchored India's chase.
To add to Sri Lanka's concerns ahead of the tournament, Shashikala Siriwardene, the captain, picked up a suspected hamstring injury. Attempting to step out to Deepti Sharma, she was stumped, even as she fell on her back in apparent pain and had to be carried off on a stretcher.
India's spinners, as they had done during the preceding series between the teams, continued to ask tough questions of the Sri Lanka batting until Dilani Manodara and Eshani Lokusuriyage broke away with a blazing 67-run stand for the fifth wicket off just 37 balls to help Sri Lanka post 125 for 4. With India beginning slowly, that total seemed like a winning one. However, once Vanitha and Mandhana settled in, the runs flowed freely off the middle of their bats and victory was ensured with 13 balls to spare.
Opening the batting, Vanitha and Mithali Raj found the going difficult early on, with India posting just 14 at the end of four overs. The next ten overs, though, brought 78 runs.
Just when it seemed Raj was connecting well, she was stumped off Sugandika Kumari for a 33-ball 23 and India still required 80 off 65 balls. Vanitha then took it upon herself to entertain her home crowd, timing the ball sweetly and finding a steady partner in Mandhana.
Having taken her side to 92, Vanitha fell for a 34-ball 37, which included three fours and a six, but Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur knocked off the remaining runs, a six from Harmanpreet taking India to 128 for 2. Mandhana, who has been in a rich run of form, finished with 42 off just 28 balls with five fours and a six.
Earlier, India decided to field first by mutual understanding. Raj went through nine bowlers with the spinners most effective. Deepti, with figures of 2-0-4-2, Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2-0-4-0) and Poonam Yadav (2-0-9-1) stood out. Jhulan Goswami, who had sat out of India's previous few games, got some vital match time ahead of the main tournament starting on Tuesday.
It was only through the efforts of Manodara (43 not out in 35 balls, with four fours and a six) and Lokusuriyage (20-ball 34 not out with six fours) that Sri Lanka put up what had promised to be a competitive total, until India's batters had the final say.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka Women 125/4 in 20 overs (Dilani Manodara 43 n.o., Eshani Lokusuriyage 34 n.o.; Deepti Sharma 2-4) lost to India Women 128/2 in 17.5 overs (VR Vanitha 37, Smriti Mandhana 42 n.o.) by 8 wickets.
Please click here to review the match in full in the ICC Match Centre