Taniya Bhatia’s blistering 46, Jemimah Rodrigues’ stormy 36 and Poonam Yadav’s four-wicket haul guided India to a 13-run victory over Sri Lanka in the 1st match of five-match T20I series in Katunayake on Wednesday (September 19). Arundhati Reddy and Kavisha Dilhari made their debut for India and Sri Lanka respectively.
Put into bat, India lost Smriti Mandhana early on a duck and Jemimah Rodrigues joined Mithali Raj at the crease. The pressure fell upon Raj and Rodrigues to give a good start to the team, and they both added 58 runs for the 2nd wicket. Rodrigues took 15 balls to reach 36. Having scored three sixes over the deep square leg and over mid-on and a boundary over mid-wicket region to de Silva helped India to reach 50 within 4 overs.
Raj got out after a good support to Rodrigues at 17. Taniya Bhatia promoted at no. 4 and she opened her account with a boundary. Just when Rodrigues was starting to hit big, she was caught at square-leg. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur soon joined her at the dugout for a second ball duck, as India became 74 for 4 at the end of the powerplay.
Taniya Bhatia along with Anuja Patil took the game forward from there. Bhatia’s sweep through square leg for boundary helped India to bring up 100 within 10 overs. Their 68 runs partnership with aggression to up the scoring rate progressively ended after Bhatia got dismissed by a diving catch at deep mid-wicket by Kavisha, having scored a 35-ball 46. Athapaththu’s one hand stunner catch sent Patil in the pavilion at 36.
Veda Krishnamurthy hit Athapaththu for a six over long on and took India to 166 for 8 being unbeaten on 21 with 2 fours and a six.
Chasing 167, Sri Lanka got a flying start. Yasoda Mendis started hitting Mansi Joshi and Anuja Patil all over the park and took her team to 39 within 3 overs before getting out by a brilliant diving catch at deep fine leg by Patil; which eventually became Reddy’s maiden T20I wicket. Hasini Perera and Rebeca Vandort did not make much of an impression. Athapaththu dismissed after a well-made 27 off 22 by a catch at deep mid-wicket.
Lokusuriyage took the charge and played strokes all around the ground. Four consecutive boundaries in the 9th over took Sri Lanka to 93 for 4. She ensured that required run-rate never went out of the hand. Dilhari opened her account by a brilliant boundary but soon got stumped by Bhatia. Lokusuriyage hit Harmanpreet Kaur to a six over the mid-wicket in the 18th over which reduced the equation to 18 off 12 but her quick-fire innings came to an end after an easy caught and bowled by Radha Yadav in the 19th over which gave the visitor’s some satisfaction. With 14 needed off 6 balls, Sri Lanka’s innings ended at 155 while Sugandika Kumari tried to go across the line and got cleaned up by Harmanpreet Kaur for a duck in the last over.
Poonam Yadav’s four wicket haul made her India’s highest wicket-taker in T20Is. She now has 57 wickets in 39 matches with a best of 4 for 9 against Bangladesh in Asia Cup earlier this year.
Both the teams will play their next match at Colts Cricket Club Ground in Colombo on September 21.