Sylhet: An all-round India crushed Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the final match of the Women’s Asia Cup 2022, clinching their seventh title.
The day was extremely memorable for India as tight bowling from bowlers, Renuka Singh (3/5) in particular, restricted Sri Lanka to 65/9 in 20 overs. The target of 66 was chased down with very little inconvenience and it was Smriti Mandhana who top-scored with an unbeaten 51* off 25 balls.
Chasing 66, India was off to a solid start as they managed to score nearly half of their target before spinner Inoka Ranaweera dismissed Shafali Verma (5 off 7 balls) after the batter was stumped by wicketkeeper Anushka Sanjeewani.
India was at 32/1, with Mandhana having scored unbeaten 26 runs in just 14 balls with two elegant fours and two sixes.
Jemimah Rodrigues was the next batter on the crease. She was bowled by Kavisha Dilhari for just two after her off stump was dislodged while she attempted to come forward to slog the ball.
Captain Harmanpreet Kaur was next up on the crease. At the end of the power-play in six overs, India was at 42/2, with Mandhana (28*) and Kaur (6*).
Mandhana hit two fours on the offside, taking India to the 50-run mark. The duo took India to a comprehensive eight-wicket win, finishing at 71/2 in 8.3 overs. Mandhana, unbeaten at 51 off 31 balls, finished the match with a huge six. Kaur was unbeaten at 11 on the other end.
Earlier, fiery power-play spell from pacer Renuka Singh and top-notch performance by spinners Sneh Rana and Rajeshwari Gayakwad helped India restrict Sri Lanka to 65/9 in their 20 overs in the final of the Women’s Asia Cup final at Sylhet on Saturday.
Electing to bat first, Sri Lanka was off to a horrendous start. Pacer Renuka Singh was absolutely terrorizing on the field, running out skipper Chamari Athapaththu (6) and dismissing Harshitha Madavi (1) and Hasini Perera (0). Another run out cut short the four-ball stay of Anushka Sanjeewani (2) on the crease. Sri Lanka was reduced to 9/4 in 3.5 overs, with Renuka involved in three of these dismissals.
Kavisha Dilhari’s bat was beaten and her stumps were dislodged by Renuka, who got her third wicket of the match. Dilhari was back in the hut after scoring just one run.
SL could not catch a breather in the entire power-play and were left at a shambolic 16/5 with Nilakshi de Silva (5) and Oshadi Ranasinghe (0) at the crease.
The miseries of Sri Lanka did not end even after the power play as Nilakshi de Silva (6) was deceived by spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad while attempting to cut. Sri Lanka was 18/6 at this point and someone had to intervene to stop this downward spiral.
Team India continued to dominate their opponents, this time with spin. Sneh Rana caught and bowled Malsha Shehani for a five-ball duck.
At the end of 10 overs, Sri Lanka was at 26/7 with Sugandika Kumari (0*) and Oshadi Ranasinghe (8*).
Oshadi Ranasinghe had kept one end steady all this while, being the only second player yet to have played 10 balls or more.
Ranasinghe’s resistance against India’s world-class bowling ended after a delivery from Gaekwad landed full outside off stump and while the batter tried to swipe it over long-off, she missed it and it landed on the stumps. The batter was out for 13 off 20 balls and was the sole batter to reach double figures. Sri Lanka was at 32/8.
At the end of 15 overs, Sri Lanka was at 40/8, with Kumari (5*) and Inoka Ranaweera (3*).
Sugandika Kumari and Inoka Ranaweera stitched the first double-digit partnership for their side however it was cut short at 10 runs only after a Rana delivery rattled Kumari’s stumps, sending her back for 6 off 24 balls. SL was at 43/9 at this point.
Sri Lanka managed to scratch their way towards the 50-run mark at 17.5 overs. Ranaweera also touched a double-digit score. The batter hit two boundaries in the final over to finish Sri Lanka’s innings at 65/9, with Ranaweera top-scoring with 18* off 22 balls and her partner Achini Kulasuriya unbeaten at 6.
Renuka’s three-over spell of 3/5 was the best part of India’s bowling in the match. Spinners Gaekwad, and Rana also took two wickets.