India beat Sri Lanka to finish unbeaten in Group A

Melbourne: Just the performance India needed before the big semi-final. India beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets and 32 balls to spare. Player of the match Radha Yadav led the way with her best T20I figures (4 for 23) and Shafali Verma thoroughly entertained again with a quickfire 47 that seemed to instill a lot of fear in the opposition bowlers. Harmanpreet Kaur came up the order and spent some time in the middle, finding the middle of the bat a couple of times before falling for 15. Sri Lanka’s bowling was pedestrian and fielding was poor.

Spinner Radha Yadav tore apart the rival batting line up with a career-best four-wicket haul to help India restrict Sri Lanka to a modest 113 for nine.

The left-arm spinner ran through the Sri Lankan batting line-up, claiming the prized scalp of skipper Chamari Atapattu, in the process.

Opting to bat, Sri Lanka were dealt an early blow when opener Umesha Thimashini (2) tried to go for a big shot off a Deepti Sharma delivery but was caught by Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the third over.

Skipper Atapattu (33), who has shined throughout the tournament, continued to attack, hitting five fours and a six. She stitched a 30-run partnership with Harshitha Madavi (12).

However, left-arm spinner Gayakwad tightened the screws in the eighth over, bowling a wicket maiden as she dismissed Madavi.

The introduction of Radha in the ninth over by India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur worked superbly as immediately after hitting a six over deep wicket the Sri Lankan captain was caught at square leg.

Sri Lanka then suffered a batting collapse as Radha accounted for Hansima Karunaratne (7) and Hasini Perera (7) in her next. She also dismissed wicket-keeper Anushka Sanjeewani (1).

Besides Radha, Gayakwad (2/18) picked up two wickets while Deepti, Shikha Pandey, and Poonam Yadav took one wicket each.

In reply Indian women achieved the target in just 14.4 overs and losing only three wickets.

Speaking at the post match presentation Indian captain Harmapreet Kaur said: “It’s important to continue momentum. I think the bowlers understood the wicket very well and bowled accordingly. Today I was looking positive, got a few boundaries, hopefully I’ll get more runs in the coming games. Shafali loves to play her shots and we don’t hold her back.”

Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Atapattu said: “I think that score was not enough, we lost couple of chances, specially Shafali, it was hard to stop her. Yeah, I got a good start but unfortunately got out in the 10th, would have wanted to stay in there till the 16th or the 17th over. I hope we can beat Bangladesh in our last game.”

Four wins in four matches for India:

– beat Australia by 17 runs – beat Bangladesh by 18 runs – beat New Zealand by 3 runs – beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets