The Indian women’s cricket team led by Harmanpreet Kaur defeated hosts Sri Lanka by 34 runs in the first T20I. Shefali Verma played an important role in the team’s victory with both the ball and the bat. He scored 31 runs and also took 2 wickets for 10 runs in 2 overs. Whereas Radha Yadav took 2 for 22 runs in 4 overs and Pooja Vastkar took 1 wicket for just 13 runs in 4 overs. Deepti Sharma took one wicket for 9 runs in 3 overs. Jemima Rodriguez was adjudged man of the match for her innings of 36 runs.
India won the toss and posted a score of 138 for six against the disciplined bowling attack of Sri Lanka. In reply, the Sri Lankan team could only manage 104 runs for 5 wickets in 20 overs. India lost the wicket of opener batsman Smriti Mandhana (01) in the third over of the innings. The 25-year-old Indian player became a victim of the experienced Oshadi in an attempt to open her hand. Trying to play that shot, the ball was caught by Chamari Atapattu standing straight at mid-on.
Sabhinene Meghna could not add a single run and the experienced Ranasinghe sent her to the dressing room. The pressure on the team was clearly visible after losing two wickets at the start in hot and humid conditions. The pair of Harmanpreet and Shefali Verma handled this delicate situation. Shefali (31 runs) was the third player to be dismissed, who was caught by Atapattu when she was trying to play a big shot.
The Sri Lankan bowlers bowled well to ensure that they got a big wicket early and it happened when skipper Harmanpreet (22) was dismissed leg before by spinner Inoka Ranaveera in the 11th over. Ranaveera took two more wickets to his name, taking the wickets of wicketkeeper-batsman Richa Ghosh (11) and Pooja Vastrakar (14) to take six wickets in the visitors’ 17 overs while his score was just 106 runs.
Returning to the team, Rodriguez played the responsibility of taking India to a respectable score. Rodriguez, who came out to bat at number five, did not come under pressure and he scored important runs for the team. He hit three fours and a six and at the other end, Deepti Sharma added 17 runs in eight balls.