CRICKET / Its batswomen come a cropper while chasing a big Lankan total
Sri Lanka played bold cricket to come up trumps in a pressure match and eliminate India from the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Brabourne Stadium here on Tuesday.
After thumping the Indian attack for its ODI high total of 282, Sri Lanka took control of the last Group ‘A’ match in the first Power-Play of ten overs and sensed victory after Harmanpreet Kaur’s cut shot of off-spinner Chamani Seneviratna travelled straight to Chamari Atapattu at point. Eventually it recorded its first win against India by 138 runs.
England, Sri Lanka and the West Indies entered the Super Six stage from Group ‘A’, while Australia, New Zealand and South Africa progressed from Group ‘B’.
With the West Indies being shot out for 101 and losing the match by six wickets to England in the day-match at the BKC Ground, India needed 251 in 50 overs to enter the next stage. But its openers Poonam Raut and M. Thirush Kamini barely managed to hit the ball of the square.
Good opening spells
Eshani Lokusooriya and left arm seamer Udeshika Prabhodhani pegged away during their opening spells of six and seven overs and took a wicket each by winning leg before appeals against Poonam and Mithali.
The opener expressed her displeasure when the umpire gave her the marching orders but Mithali was plumb in front. Sri Lanka struck the big blow when Seneviratna dismissed Harmanpreet.
It was a day when everything went Sri Lanka’s way. After arriving at a venue with fond memories of having beaten England for the first time in 16 years, Sri Lanka elected to bat and its batswomen played daring shots even after Jhulan Goswami had dismissed Atapattu with the fifth ball of the match.
Yasoda Mendis and Deepika Rasangika drove and cut hard to pick up half a dozen boundary shots on the off side and took their team to 55 at the end of the mandatory Power-Play.
They raised 50 for the second wicket in a little more than half an hour and sustained the five-an-over thrust till the 20th over. Medium pacer Amita Sharma produced a wicket when Yasoda holed out to Goher Sultana but soon the Sri Lankan captain Shashikala Siriwardene outsmarted the Indians and ensured that the advantage of the 117-run stand for the second wicket was not frittered away.
Rasangika hit eleven fours but most importantly kept the scoreboard ticking away with singles and rotated the strike to upset the spinners’ length. Though India conceded just 31 runs in the batting Power-Play of five overs, Lokusooriya cut loose for the second time at the venue as Sri Lanka put behind the battering it received in the previous match against the West Indies.
Left arm spinners Ekta Bisht and Sultana turned out to be the biggest disappointments and medium-pacer Shubhlakshmi Sharma, who came in place of Niranjana Nagarajan, just did not fit the bill.
Even the experienced Goswami was all nerves as India put up a below par performance and made an inglorious exit on the sixth day of the World Cup.
India will now play Pakistan in the play-off match for the seventh and eighth position at Cuttack on Thursday.