India and Sri Lanka notch big wins as Jemimah Rodrigues and Harshitha Madavi shine
Harshitha Madavi, Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues scored fifties on day four. © Getty Images
India and Sri Lanka continued their winning runs on a high-scoring day in Sylhet in the Asia Cup on Wednesday. India top the medal standings after comprehensively beating UAE by 104 runs, while Sri Lanka also handed Thailand a 49-run loss.
Smriti Mandhana, who was captaining India in the absence of the resting Harmanpreet Kaur, opted to bat first after winning the toss, with Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar and Renuka Singh Takur also coming back into the playing XI. Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav and Meghna Singh were the other players rested.
India opened with Richa Ghosh alongside S Meghana but the experiment failed in the face of some inspired bowling in the Powerplay from UAE captain Chaya Mughal and Mahika Gaur.
Ghosh fell for a first-ball duck after flicking Mughal straight to square leg. Gaur tucked the batters up with her left arm angle and bounce and she was the next to strike, getting Meghana to edge one to Theertha Satish behind the stumps for 10.
There were no easy runs on offer and that led to the run out of Dayalan Hemalatha, as she fell for just two after being run out following a mix up with Deepti Sharma.
India seemed in a lot of trouble at 20 for three but it was all one way traffic from then on as Sharma put on a record 128 run partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues for the fourth wicket, the highest in the history of the Asia Cup.
Both Sharma and Rodrigues moved around the crease and targeted the leg side, with Rodrigues using the sweep and paddle sweep effectively, while Sharma targeted midwicket frequently.
Sharma went on to score 64 off just 49 balls and registered her first fifty in the format, while Rodrigues scored a high-class 75* off just 45 balls and remained unbeaten. Pooja Vastrakar and Kiran Navgire used the long handle to great effect as India notched 178 for five on the board, the second-highest total in the history of the tournament.
UAE’s chase never got off the ground as Theertha Satish was run out for one in the very first over while trying to pinch a tight single.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad then struck twice in the next over, having the big-hitting Esha Oza caught at mid off for four and dismissing Natasha Cherriath for a duck to leave them reeling at five for three.
UAE closed shop after that and only looked to bat out the 20 overs, a task they managed successfully to end with 74 for four.
Brief Scores: India 178/5 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 75*, Deepti Sharma 64; Suraksha Kotte 1/14) beat UAE 74/4 in 20 overs (Kavisha Egodage 30*, Khushi Sharma 29; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/20) by 104 runs POTM: Jemimah Rodrigues
Having won their previous match against UAE after batting first, Sri Lanka opted to bat first again. Skipper Chamari Athapaththu struggled for fluency right through her 12 off 18 balls before being caught behind off Suleeporn Laomi, who became the second Thai bowler to pick 50 wickets in the format.
Hasini Perera also fell cheaply for six after a mix up with Harshitha Madavi, who otherwise did no wrong in her innings.
Madavi is now the leading run getter in this edition and she timed the ball well from the outset, stroking fluent drives through the off side as well as the on side.
Madavi almost batted through the innings for 81 from 69 deliveries, the highest score by a Sri Lankan batter in the tournament’s history. She was bowled by the experienced Nattaya Boochatham after unfurling her full range of strokes, ranging from silky cover drives to smart reverse sweeps.
She was ably supported by Nilakshi de Silva, who blasted an unbeaten 39 off just 21 balls. De Silva was severe on anything short and also danced down the wicket to clear the straight boundary. Her quick scoring helped Sri Lanka finish with an imposing total of 156-5. Thippatcha Putthawong was the most successful bowler for Thailand, picking two wickets in the final over of the innings to finish with two for 26.
In reply, Thailand lost the key wicket of Natthakan Chantham for seven after she was bowled by Achini Kulasuriya. The other opener, Nannapat Koncharoenkai, was strong on the sweep and motored to a stylish 25 off just 21 balls before she was bowled by the experienced Inoka Ranaweera.
Thailand battled in the chase, with Chanida Sutthiruang remaining unbeaten on 37 off 42 balls, as they played out the 20 overs to score 107 for five, the highest by an Associate nation in the history of the Asia Cup.
Kulasuriya ended with two for 26 as her approach to attack the stumps and bowl straight reaped dividends.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 156/5 in 20 overs (Harshitha Madavi 81, Nilakshi de Silva 39; Thipatcha Putthawong 2/26) beat Thailand 107/5 in 20 overs (Chanida Sutthiruang 37*; Achini Kulasuriya 2/19) by 49 runs POTM: Harshitha Madavi