Team India book their place in Asia cup final riding on the shoulders of Mithali Raj

Asia Cup T20, Match no 12 – India vs Sri Lanka.

India for the 1st time playing in the afternoon game in this edition of the tournament. All their previous 3 games have been a Morning game.

India coming in with a 5 wicket win against their arch-rivals Pakistan, Sri Lanka similarly coming in with a huge 75 run victory over Thailand. The match offers the winner the top position on the points table and potentially also a berth in the finals to be held on Sunday, 4th Dec.

Harmanpreet won the toss and elected to bat.

Wow! Did Mithali Raj come to the party or what! 1st with Smriti Mandhana 21 off 23 (1×4), then with Veda Krishnamurthy 21 off 23 (1×6), put up 2 big partnerships for 1st and 2nd wicket of 46 and 50 respectively, and finally a 25 runs partnership with Captain Harmanpreet, till she was run out on the 5th ball of the 19th over. She did get life earlier, just before reaching her 50.

On the half way mark India were 48 for 1, but then they picked up the scoring from there and at the end of 15 overs they had reached 89, they almost doubled the score in half the number of overs.

India Women should have crossed 130 or so, when you understand that India was 93 after 16 overs and had 9 wickets in hand. But the Indian inning ended on a par score of 121 for 4 in their allotted 20 overs. The 2nd highest score for the tournament in this 2016 edition, the highest being that of 133 by Bangladesh.

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Srilanka in return started cautiously. Captain again came to open the innings, on the back of a 55 she scored against Thailand. But Indian opening bowling attack Jhulan and Anuja Patil had other ideas. They both picked both the openers in the 3rd and 4th overs respectively when Sri Lanka were on 16.

Sri Lanka Women wicketkeeper Batter Prasadani Weerakkody and Dilani then tried to build the innings but could put together only 17 runs, when India’s ace spinner Ekta Bisht applied breaks to the scoring of Sri Lanka women when she picked 2 wickets in her 1st over itself, on consecutive balls, giving her a Hat-trick opportunity. The hat-trick did not happen, but she picked her 3rd wicket in her 2nd over.

By the 10th over Sri Lanka women were 37 for 5. Sri Lanka women never recovered from there. The 6th wicket partnership did put up some resistance and contributed 23 runs. But then Preeti Bose struck a double blow, again on consecutive balls, and we had another hat-trick opportunity, which did not happen either.

Sri Lanka women ended the innings on 69/9 in their allotted 20 overs. Dilani Manodara was the highest scorer with 20 off 32 balls.

Preeti and Ekta both picked 3 wickets each. But Mithali Raj was awarded the player of the match for her 62 off 59 (6×4). Her 9th Half Century of her T20I carrier.

Effectively this win confirms India the berth for the Finals on Sunday; technically against Pakistan. As Pakistan’s next match is against Thailand. Unless Thailand can spring a Surprise, can they?

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