Poonam Yadav’s crucial four-fer in the first T20I steered India to a closely fought win by 13 runs against the Lankans. It was a close contest but the Indians emerged victorious in the end with good support from Radha Yadav and skipper Harmanpreet with the ball.
Sri Lanka women on winning the toss elected to field first and got off to a dream start with Prabodhini striking in the second ball of the innings removing the in-form Mandhana for a first ball duck. However, the 18 year old Jemimah Rodrigues was at her aggressive best when she hit Nilakshi De Silva for 3 consecutive sixers and a four. Both Mithali Raj and Rodrigues were aggressive before Sripali Weerakody struck in the 5th over to dismiss Mithali for 17. The Lankan skipper then struck in quick succession in the 6th over when she got Rodrigues and her counterpart Harmanpreet for a duck with India struggling at 70/4 in 5.3 overs. Rodrigues scored 36 of 15 balls which included 3 fours and 3 sixes in the innings.
Wicket-keeper batsman Taniya Bhatia and all-rounder Anuja Patil then steadied the ship putting on 67 runs for the 5th wicket before Nilakshi De Silva got Taniya Bhatia for the highest score of the innings with 46 runs. The Indians could not capitalise on their aggressive start and managed to get only 31 runs in the last 5 overs by losing 4 wickets. Anuja Patil played well for her 36 runs and Veda Krishnamurthy flourished towards the end of the innings scoring a useful 21 unbeaten of 15 deliveries which included a six. The Indians managed to score 168 in their allotted 20 overs. Prabodhani and Athapaththu were the most successful bowlers for Sri Lanka picking up 2 wickets each.
The Lankan openers came out with aggressive intent and looked well on course before Yasoda Mendis was dismissed by Arundhati Reddy for 32 of just 12 balls. The Indians then struck quickly removing Hasini Perera for just 1 run off the bowling of Anuja Patil. The Lankan skipper continued her good form from the ODI series with the bat. The introduction of leg-spinner Poonam Yadav was the turning point in the game where she picked up 2 wickets back-to-back of Vandort and the Lankan skipper for 27 runs of 22 balls. Half way through, the Lankans were well on course with the chase before Poonam Yadav struck her third blow trapping Siriwardene in front of the wickets with the game left in balance. Sri Lanka had lost half her side for 99 runs at the end of the 10th over.
Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav bowled well in tandem with Poonam Yadav claiming 4 wickets by conceding only 26 runs. Radha Yadav struck decisive blows and controlled the flow of runs at one end. The captain Harmanpreet Kaur kept her cool and capitalised on the pressure created from other end picking up 2 wickets herself. Radha Yadav was the most economical bowler of the match picking up 2 wickets for 15 runs in her 4 overs. The Lankans required 28 in the last 3 overs with 3 wickets in hand. But some good bowling from Radha Yadav and Harmanpreet ensured that the Lankans were bundled out for 155 runs in just 19.3 overs.
Lokusuriyage who has been recalled for the series played a fighting knock and tried to keep the Lankans alive in the chase. She even smashed 4 consecutive fours of the bowling of Arudhati Reddy ad managed to score 45 runs in just 31 deliveries which also included a six in the innings. However, she could not get Lankans over the line and fell short by just 13 runs.
The second T20 will take place on Friday 21st September in Colombo. The Lankans have given a good fight throughout the series and will be hoping to get over the line and keep the series alive in the next game.