The Sri Lankan Women lost their fourth game in a row in the ongoing Women’s World Cup, but made India sweat before falling short by 16 runs at Derby.
Deepti Sharma’s all-round display, aided by skipper Mithali Raj’s 48th ODI fifty and Poonam Yadav’s 2-23 were too strong for the Sri Lankans who struggled to come out on top during crucial passages in the game.
The 19-year-old Sharma top scored with 78 to lay the platform for India’s eventually match winning total of 232, while she got brilliant support from the skipper, Raj, who chipped in with 53. Sripali Weerakkody bowled best for the Lankan ladies picking up three wickets while skipper Inoka Ranaweera picked up two.
Sri Lanka didn’t go down without a fight though. It was the 60-run partnership between the two experienced campaigners Shashikala Siriwardena and Dilani Manodara, and a gritty fifty from the latter, that kept Sri Lanka in the hunt.
But with little support from the rest, and their inability to rotate the strike in the middle overs being of real concern, the Lankans had too much to do when it came down to the last few overs of their run chase.
The in-form Chamari Athapaththu completely misread a delivery from the legspinner, Poonam Yadav, while trying to sweep her, to fall for 42-ball 25. Nipuni Hansika, who made 29 after being offered a lucky break on one, fell when she was stumped by Sushma Verma off the bowling of Yadav.
Even as Sri Lanka managed 44 off the batting powerplay, the equation was down to an almost improbable 95 off the last ten with Manodara still out there playing a gritty innings that saw plenty of innovation.
Despite losing partners, Manodara kept a faint hope alive with her second ODI fifty and some cheeky running between the wickets to keep India on their toes. She fell in the 48th over looking for a big hit down the ground, to signal the end to Sri Lanka’s fight.
However, Sri Lanka’s resistance meant India had to concede the top spot in the points table to Australia.