Sri Lanka Women qualified for the Women’s T20 Asia Cup Final registering a thrilling 1-run win over Pakistan Women in the second Semi-Final played at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium today (13th October).
Having lost a close game while defending 112 in their last group game against Pakistan, Sri Lanka opted to bat first again in the all-important Semi-Final, with an unchanged playing XI. Despite losing wickets in regular intervals, the Lankan batters kept scoring at a run rate of around 6 helping themselves finish their innings on 122.
The highest run-scorer in this tournament for Sri Lanka, Harshitha Samarawickrama top-scored for them with a 41-ball 35 anchoring the innings for nearly 15 overs in the middle. Samarawickrama, who has been skipper Chamari Athapaththu’s partner at the top of the order throughout the tournament, dropped down to number 3 in this game as wicket-keeper Anushka Sanjeewani opened the batting with Athapaththu. Sanjeewani provided the much-needed momentum boost for Sri Lanka at the top with a 21-ball 26.
Nilakshi De Silva contributed with a 27-ball 14 to see-through the middle overs, a phase the Lankan batters have been very brittle throughout the tournament, while Hasini Perera being demoted to number 5 for the first time in the tournament scored a quick 13 towards the latter part of the innings.
The run-chase started very well for Pakistan as they scored 43 runs in the first 5 overs. Opener Muneeba Ali scored 18 quick runs off just 10 deliveries before she was run out in the fourth over. The Lankan bowlers tightened up the screws after a poor opening phase to make a strong comeback to the game giving only 23 runs between the 6th and 11th over picking up a couple of wickets.
Pakistan’s most experienced duo, skipper Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar then got together when the game was in the balance with Pakistan on 65/3 after 10.4 overs requiring 58 runs in 56 deliveries. When the pendulum was slowly swinging back Pakistan’s way, thanks to the 42-run stand between Maroof and Dar, Sri Lanka sealed the game with some excellent death bowling giving away just 16 runs in the last 3 overs and picking 3 big wickets.
Inoka Ranaweera was excellent for Sri Lanka once again claiming Player of the Match figures of 2/17. She bowled the tough 17th and 19th overs playing a vital role in Sri Lanka’s win.
Sri Lanka will now meet India in the Final which will be played on 15th Saturday at the same venue. The two teams have met each other in Women’s 50-Over Asia Cup Finals thrice before and India emerged victorious on all occasions (2005/06, 2006, 2008). India featured in all 3 Women’s T20 Asia Cup Finals played before and has won it twice. For Sri Lanka, this will be their first-ever Women’s T20 Asia Cup Final.
SL W – 122/6 (20) Harshitha Samarawickrama 35, Anushka Sanjeewani 26, Nashra Sandhu 3/17
Pak W – 121/6 (20) Bismah Maroof 42, Nida Dar 26, Inoka Ranaweera 2/17
Sri Lanka Women won by 1 run