A clinical performance by the Indian bowlers and controlled aggression by the Indian openers ensured that the Indian team got off to a winning start in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Lankans could not make much of the conditions at Galle.
The Sri Lankan team got bundled out for a paltry 98 and did not even complete their allocated quota of 50 overs. They got off to a very slow start and kept on loosing wickets at regular intervals. Mansi Joshi (3.1-16-3) and Jhulan Goswami (8-13-2) led from front restricting the Lankans to less than 3 figure mark in their innings. Mansi Joshi who is making her comeback in international cricket after sustaining a knee injury looked extremely confident and picked up 3 important wickets in the innings. She had last played against the same opponent at Derby in the 2017 Women’s World Cup match.
Other Indian bowlers also rallied along with them with Poonam Yadav picking 2 wickets and Deepti Sharma, Gayakwad and debutant Hemalatha picking up 1 wicket a piece. Poonam Yadav picked up her 50th wicket when Anushka Sanjeevani gave a catch to Jhulan Goswami off her bowling.
The Lankan skipper Chamari Athapaththu was the highest scorer of the innings with 33 runs but at a strike rate of meagre 35.48. The only support that she got was from Sripali Weerakkody (26 runs) where the duo put up 29 runs for the 7th wicket. The SriLankan innings lacked any significant partnership and struggled all the way through their innings which lasted for 35.1 overs.
The Indian openers came with a positive mindset to chase the score with Smriti Mandhana at her aggressive best. Mandhana scored majority of the runs and remained unbeaten on 73 off just 76 deliveries. Her innings included 11 fours and 2 sixes. She along with Punam Raut (24 off 41) got the visitors agonisingly close to the target by putting on 96 runs for the first wicket in just 18.4 overs.
Smriti Mandhana has been in terrific form in the recently concluded Kia Super League where she was the top run scorer in the tournament and continued that same form in today’s game as well.
Ranaweera was the only successful bowler from Sri Lanka who picked up the wicket of Punam Raut. Indians reached the target in just 19.5 overs and 9 wickets in hand.
Earlier in the day, the Indian team handed over ODI caps to debutants Hemlatha Dayalan who is an off-spinning allrounder and wicket keeper Taniya Bhatia. Both the debutants had a decent start to their ODI career where Hemlatha picked up one wicket of Sugandika Kumari. Taniya was equally good behind the wickets and took 2 catches.
This match also marked Mithali Raj’s 118th record ODI appearance as the captain which is the most by any woman cricketer. She now has surpassed Charlotte Edwards who had captained the English side in 117 ODIs.
This emphatic win could be a sign of the things to come in the series. The bowling unit looked in good form and with Smriti Mandhana peaking at the very start; the Sri Lankans have a tough task ahead of themselves. The Lankan skipper will need some support especially from their batters if they have to compete in the series. The second ODI is on Thursday 13th September at the same venue where India will look to seal the series and Lankans will try to keep the series alive.
Sri Lanka Women : 98 All Out
India Women : 100/1 (19.5/50 ov, target 99)
IND Women won by 9 wickets (with 181 balls remaining)
A digital marketing consultant by profession, a student of strategy and business. Food lover, passionate about Cricket and a huge fan of the Windies cricket team.