Indian Women on Saturday thrashed Sri Lanka’s Women in the final of the Asia Cup to clinch the championship for the record seventh time.
Sri Lanka’s captain Chamari Athapaththu won the toss and opted to bat but her decision proved fatal as she was run-out in the 3rd over. Her wicket triggered a sensational collapse as Sri Lanka lost three wickets in the next over and were reduced to 9-4.
While Anushka Sanjeewani was run-out, Hasini Perera and Harshitha Madavi fell to the seamer Renuka Singh. Rajeshwari Gayakwad also hit her strides as she castled Nilakshi de Silva and O Ranasinghe. At one stage, Sri Lanka were reeling at 32-8 and were in danger of being bowled out under 50.
But Inoka Ranaweera cracked a couple of boundaries and eked out a laborious 18 off 22 balls as Sri Lanka reached 65-9 in 20 overs.
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Chasing a paltry total of 66, Indian opener Smriti Mandhana went on the rampage and unleashed fury on Sri Lankan bowlers. She blasted six boundaries and three huge sixes as India reached the target only in 8.3 overs to seal the eight-wicket victory. Though India lost Shafali Varma and Jemimah Rodrigues cheaply, Mandhana’s 25-ball 51 ensured a facile win.
While Renuka was chosen as the Player Of The Match for her three-wicket haul, Deepti Sharma walked away with the Player-Of-The-Series award.
Indian Women team’s win is also remarkable because just a couple of months ago, India’s men team had failed to even reach the final of the Asia Cup. In the last five years, India’s Women team has taken giant strides and is now regarded as one of the best cricketing units in the world.
“We should give credit to the bowlers and the fielding unit was also very good today. We didn’t want to give them easy runs as every ball is important. I’m really proud of the way we performed today,” Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur said after the match.
“You gotta read the wicket and place the field accordingly. We did that very well and placed the fielders accordingly and that really helped us. We were not looking at the scoreboard and were just looking at the short targets we had for ourselves. It all worked out well,” she added.