Smriti Mandana’s half-century along with Renuka Singh’s 3-wicket haul lead India Women to win over Sri Lanka women by 8 wickets to clinch the Women’s Asia Cup title at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday. Chasing an easy target of 66 runs, Smriti Mandhana top-scored with an unbeaten 51 off 25 balls to become the New Asian Champions. This is the fifth time in history that Women in Blue defeated Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final.
Sri Lanka, who were in the final after 14 years, won the toss and decided to put runs on the board. But things did not go according to their plan. Indian women were magnificent with the ball that easily sent out the Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Athapaththu in 2.4 overs. Since the dismissal of the skipper, the batting line-up started to fall apart. None of the Lankan batters could deal with the pressure as only two batters scored in double digits. With Oshadi Ranasinghe (13/20) and Inoka Ranaweera (18/22), Sri Lanka somehow managed to post 65 runs in 20 overs.
Indian spinners used the conditions perfectly well as they restricted Sri Lanka women to a below-par total. Renuka Singh was the one leading the side with 3 wickets. Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Sneh Rana equally supported her by picking 2 wickets each.
It was an easy chase on the Indian side. Smriti Mandhana led the side with her half-century. The Women in Blue came into bat with aggressive intent. Opener Mandhana started firing from the first over itself to give Sri Lanka no chance whatsoever. Opener Shafali Verma was also in aggressive mode but cannot score much. Verma went out on 5 runs. Jemimah Rodrigues also followed her by scoring only 2 runs. Then the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur came in support of Mandhana. Kaur stays unbeaten on 11 runs and guided India home with the title.
Sri Lanka women had nothing to do with the game. Nevertheless, they managed to get two wickets.
India Women become the champions of Asia for the 7th time. India was dominant throughout the game, not just in the final, but in the full competition. The only game that they lost in this series is against the arch-rivals Pakistan. Chasing a target of 66 was an easy task for India with an amazing set of batting line-up.
Captain Kaur credits the bowlers for the victory as they restricted the Lankans to a low total. They fielded so neatly and placed the fielders accordingly. She adds that they were not looking at the scoreboard as they had the target in mind, which worked out well for them. The tournament win will give the Indian Women a booster for the coming Women’s T20 World Cup, which commenced a few months away.
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