Raj scored 97* in 69 balls hitting 13 fours and a six. ©ACC

Defending champions India thrashed hosts Malaysia in the tournament opener by 142 runs. Electing to bat first, India were certain to post a huge total on board. All eyes were on the openers Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj. But Ainna Hamizah Hashim handed Malaysia their first breakthrough in the very second over; by taking out Smriti Mandhana from the equation. The fierce opener bowled by a brilliant delivery from Hamizah Hashim.

India made a change in their batting line-up by promoting all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar at no. 3. She scored a quick flash of 16 before getting out to young spinner Noor Hayati Zakaria.

Carrying on the momentum from the first ever Women’s IPL exhibition game in Mumbai, Mithali Raj notched up another T20I half-century. She was in a formidable form, hitting 13 boundaries and the only six of the innings came from her bat. Anchoring the innings, she scored an unbeaten 97 off 69; missing the century by just 3 runs.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur scored a quickfire and breezy 32 off 23; before getting dismissed through a run-out. With Deepti Sharma’s 18 runs in 12 balls; India put up a huge total of 169 in 20 overs at the loss of 3 wickets.

It was not an easy chase for Malaysia. Pooja Vastrakar gave India their first breakthrough by taking Christina Baret in the second over. Another opener Yusrina Yaakop also got dismissed in the next over. Both the openers were dismissed without scoring a run. Anuja Patil took 2 wickets in the 5th over but missed out on a hat-trick.

Vastrakar took 3 wickets, Patil-Yadav picked up 2 wickets each and Shikha Pandey took a lone wicket for India. No batters reached the double figures in the innings. Fall of wickets in regular intervals ended Malaysia’s innings within 27 runs in 13.4 overs. India won the match by 142 runs.

Mithali Raj was adjudged with the ‘Player Of the Match’ award for her blasting 97* off 69.