Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav’s four-wicket haul ensured a 13-run victory for the Indians in the first T20 international against Sri Lanka after their recent ODI success in the island nation. Wicket-keeper Tanya Bhatia top-scored with the bat for the hosts as she amassed 46 runs off 35 balls.
Brief scores: India women’s team 168/8 (Taniya Bhatia 46; Udeshika Prabodhini 2/18) beat Sri Lanka women’s team 155/10 (Eshani Lokusuriyage 45, Poonam Yadav 4/26) by 13
Lankan skipper Chamari Athapaththu invited India to bat first after winning the toss in the first T20 game of the three-match series at FTZ Sports Complex at Katunayake. Udeshika Prabodhini vindicated her skipper’s decision by picking up the wicket of in-form batter Smriti Mandhana off the second delivery of the match. Mithali Raj then tried to stitch a partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues for the second wicket but the senior pro got out for 17 off 11 balls. Wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia, who starred in the second ODI for the Indian side, played a brilliant knock of 46 runs off 35 balls after Rodrigues got out after quick-fire 36 off just 15 balls. The Lankan skipper got the better of her Indian counterpart as Harmanpreet Kaur got out without troubling the scorers. In the lower-middle order, Anuja Patil and Veda Krishnamurthy chipped in with 34 and 21* respectively to take India to 168/8 in 20 overs.
With a target of 167 in front of them, the Lankan openers started off on a very attacking note. Yasoda Mendis and skipper Athapaththu added 39 runs in only three overs. Mendis was picked up by Arundhati Reddy for 32 as India bounced back in the game. Soon Hasini Perera was picked up by Anuja Patil while Rebeca Vandort and captain Athapaththu were picked up by Poonam Yadav in the eighth over to push the Lankans further back. With wickets falling at regular intervals, Eshani Lokusuriyage remained calm at one end till the 19th over and got the Lankans very close to the target. She was dismissed by Radha Yadav in the penultimate over for 45 and the Lankans lost their last wicket in the next over to hand a 13-run victory with three balls to spare.