Women's World Cup 2017: India Warm Up With 109-Run Victory Over Sri Lanka

Mithali Raj and Punam Raut continued their good run of form while Smriti Mandhana too got some useful runs under her belt as India wrapped up their warm-up schedule with a comprehensive 109-run win over minnows Sri Lanka in Chesterfield on Wednesday (June 21). After their meek surrender to New Zealand in the first official warm-up, a fine batting display saw India post a 275-run total before Rajeshwari Gayakwad's four-fer helped them shoot out the opponents to just 166.

Mandhana, taking up the usual opener's role, and in-form Raut got India off to a solid start by putting on 46 in the first powerplay, after Raj won the toss and elected to bat. The duo were inching towards a fine half-century stand, and Mandhana towards her first fifty since her return to cricket after an injury layoff, when Sri Lankan skipper Inoka Ranaweera got her side the breakthrough they had been desperately looking for.

However, there was no respite for the Sri Lankan side as Raj and Raut carried on with aplomb. Raj's presence at the other end helped Raut free her arms and hit a couple of big ones before the opener fell for a 79-ball 69. This was followed by the key wicket of Indian vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur in quick succession as India were reduced to 151 for 3 at the start of the 30th over. Raj then took charge and top scored with a fine 85, playing an anchor for the better part of India's innings.

Mona Meshram contributed 30 to the 61-run stand with her skipper while Veda Krishnamurthy made an unbeaten 20 to propel India to a strong total of 275 despite losing five wickets in a cluster, for 62 runs, in the death overs.

In the absence of Jhulan Goswami, India's strike bowler Shikha Pandey dented Sri Lanka's chase early with the wicket of Nipuni Hansika in the third over itself. Hasini Perera, the T20I captain, and ex-skipper Chamari Athapaththu revived the hopes but Sri Lanka started to fall behind on the required run rate quite early. Meshram ran Athapaththu out on 30 to break the defiant stand before Gayakwad opener her account with Perera's scalp.

While India might have sniffed another collapse, the experienced Dilani Manodara and Prasadini Weerakkody frustrated the Asian opponents with a solid fourth-wicket partnership worth 74 runs. That the partnership came at a strike rate of under four however meant Sri Lanka were not getting closer. And then came the decisive blow. Pandey cleaned up wicketkeeper Weerakkody on 39, triggering a massive collapse that Sri Lanka could not recover from.

The bottom-six all registered single-digit scores as Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for just 31 runs - with Gayakwad accounting for three of those - to hand India a big win.

Deepti Sharma and Harmanpreet both proved tad expensive - leaking at five an over - and haven't contributed much with the bat since landing in England. And even though both are assured of a place in the starting XI, the team would like their premier allrounders chipping in regularly once the main round kicks in.

India will be hoping to put up another good show when they start their World Cup campaign against hosts England in Derby on Saturday (June 24) while Sri Lanka start against New Zealand in Bristol on the same day.

Brief scores: India 275/8 in 50 overs (Mithali Raj 85, Poonam Raut 69, Smriti Mandhana 44; Ama Kanchana 2-49) beat Sri Lanka 166 all out in 48.4 overs (Dilani Manodara 49, Prasadini Weerakkody 39; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 4-12, Shikha Pandey 2-22) by 109 runs.


© 2019 Asian Mirror (pvt) Ltd