Katunayake, After most of the first Twenty20 International had been played on an even footing, India broke away towards the end to beat Sri Lanka by 13 runs here today.The win gave India Women a 1-0 lead in the five-match series, and came after they had won the one-day international series 2-1.
With 18 runs needed in the last two overs for Sri Lanka after India had put up 168/8, left-arm spinner Radha Yadav did an excellent job by conceding just three runs and picking up a wicket to choke Sri Lanka in the penultimate over.
With 15 required off six balls then, and the No.10 and 11 in the middle, there was little hope for the hosts and they were bowled out for 155.
Earlier, Sri Lanka got off to and excellent start, with Yasoda Mendis tearing into the Indian bowling, hitting five fours and two sixes in her 32 off just 12 balls. As a result, Sri Lanka had 39 runs on the board in the first three overs before Mendis was dismissed by Arundhati Reddy, an ICC report said.
Hasini Perera came and went, but captain Chamari Athapaththu (27) and wicket-keeper Redeca Vandort (7) got together to keep the scoring rate up and took Sri Lanka to 70 in seven overs, laying a platform for the middle order to build on.
However, Vandort’s dismissal initiated a mini-collapse as Sri Lanka slipped from 70/2 to 99/5 by the halfway stage. Poonam Yadav initiated the turnaround, dismissing both Vandort and Athapaththu as well as Shashikala Siriwardena before Radha removed Nilakshi de Silva for 12 and reduced Sri Lanka to 114/6.
But Eshani Lokusuriyage (45) and Kavisha Dilhari (11) led a lower-order rearguard and added 24 runs for the eighth wicket to get Sri Lanka close to the target before Harmanpreet Kaur, the Indian captain, got rid of Dilhari for 11 in the 18th over. Lokusuriyage countered that wicket with a six off the last ball of the 18th to leave Sri Lanka 18 to get off the final 12 balls, but that’s when Radha took charge.
Earlier, helped by wicket-keeper batter Taniya Bhatia’s 35-ball 46 and scores of 36 from Jemimah Rodrigues and Anuja Patil, India put up a competitive total on the board. Veda Krishnamurthy (21 not out) and Mithali Raj (17) also chipped in with important contributions.
However, two of India’s best bets in T20I cricket, Smriti Mandhana and Kaur, were dismissed for ducks, which helped Sri Lanka keep the scoring in check.
India were in early trouble when Mandhana was caught by Athapaththu off Udeshika Prabodini for nought on the second ball of the match, but were revived by Raj and Rodrigues, who shared a 58-run second-wicket stand.
Rodrigues was her usual attacking self, taking just 15 balls for her 36 that was laden with three fours and as many sixes. Raj was trapped leg before wicket by Sripali Weerakkody in the fifth over to end the half-century stand.
Both Rodrigues and Kaur departed in the very next over, leaving India in a spot of bother once again, at 70/4 in the sixth over, but Bhatia and Patil then got together to stitch a 67-run stand and take India’s score past the 100-run mark. Bhatia hit six fours and a six in her innings while Patil hit five fours.
They were dismissed in consecutive overs by Siriwardena and de Silva with India two runs short of 150, but Krishnamurthy, batting at No.7, then took over the job of finishing the innings and remained unbeaten on 21 off 15 with two fours and a six.
Prabodhini and Athapaththu picked up two wickets each while Weerakkody, de Silva and Siriwardene had one apiece.