Anuja Patil with a match winning performance. ©ICC

In the 12th match of the Asia Cup, both teams were geared up for a must-win game. The win was crucial considering the continuous changes in the points table, and after an embarrassing loss against  Bangladesh, India was under pressure.

But fortune favoured India, as they won the toss and elected to bowl first. Three changes were made by India: Veda Krishnamurthy came in place of Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey in place of Pooja Vastrakar and Ekta Bisht replaced Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Sri Lanka made one change: Shehani made her way into the playing XI, in place of Ranaweera.

Nipuni Hansika and Yasoda Mendis drew the way for Sri Lanka, by steadily building up the innings until Bisht’s spin got Hansika out in the 4th over. Hasini Perera and Mendis added some crucial runs, but Poonam’ s googly and Taniya’s fast-tracking got Mendis stumped, after scoring 27(39). Ekta Bisht provided the Indian team with two major breakthroughs, and uptil 14 overs, Sri Lanka’s score was just 70/4.

After the 14th over, India got wickets at regular intervals which helped them restrict the Lankans to 107/7. While all other batters threw their wickets, Hasini handled one end and kept the scorecard ticking. She remained not out in the whole innings, and was the highest scorer with 46* off 43 balls. All the Indian bowlers were equally brilliant, but Ekta was the most successful among them, with the figures of 2/20. Goswami, Yadav and Patil bagged a single wicket each, and India’s brilliant effort on the field got them two crucial run-outs.

Now it was India’s turn to chase down the total, and considering the form of the Indian batters, it was not a daunting task for them. Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana opened the innings for India, and started off well but Ranasinghe got the wicket of Mandhana in 6th over. The whole responsibility was then on Raj and Kaur to take India home.

But Nilakshi got the crucial wicket of Mithali Raj23(33) soon too, and Harmanpreet Kaur too joined her in the pavilion a couple of balls later. After this, it was a golden chance for Sri Lanka to bounce back, but they squandered the opportunity. Attacking batters Krishnamurthy and Anuja were on the crease, and started free-flowing shots all around the field, to take India home. India won the match by 7 wickets and notched 2 crucial points.

Sri Lankan bowlers tried their best but there were no backup of runs for them to restrict. Oshadi, Ranasinghe and Nilakshi picked up a single wicket each. The Sri Lankan batters let their team down, and now it’s almost impossible for the Lankan’s to qualify for the finals.

Anuja Patil was adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’ for her economic spell of 1/19 and 19*(16).