Dambulla, A fine finishing effort from Jemimah Rodrigues (36 not out off 27) and Deepti Sharma (17 not out off 8) followed by a disciplined bowling performance helped India beat Sri Lanka by 34 runs in the first T20I and go 1-0 up in the three-match T20I series, here on Thursday.
Tight bowling effort led by the spinners helped India successfully defend a modest 138. Young all-rounder Kavisha Dilhari tried hard with her enterprising 47 not out but it wasn't sufficient for Sri Lanka to avoid the loss.
Chasing a modest target, Sri Lanka were off to a poor start as Deepti Sharma dismissed Vishmi Gunaratne just off her second ball in the second over of the innings. Harshitha Madavi and Chamari Athapaththu ensured there was no more damage in the Powerplay. But they couldn't make the best use of the fielding restrictions as Sri Lanka were only 25/1 at the end of six overs.
With the run rate already over eight, Athapaththu (16) fell to Radha Yadav in her bid to accelerate the scoring. Deepti Sharma got in the game two balls later - this time as a fielder - with a stunning tumbling catch in the deep to dismiss Madavi (10).
Kavisha Dilhari put up some resistance, first with a 27-run stand with Nilakshi de Silva and then 32 runs with Ama Kanchana. However, both partnerships came at well below the required run rate. In the end, Dilhari remained unbeaten on 47 but could not stop India from romping home by 34 runs after Sri Lanka were restricted to 104-5 in 20 overs.
Earlier, India won the toss and opted to bat first but their innings was less than ideal. The first three overs of pace didn't pose any problem for India but the introduction of spin turned the game around. In her very first over, Oshadi Ranasinghe had the India batters in tangles.
The off-spinner was on a hat-trick after dismissing Smriti Mandhana and S Meghana before Harmanpreet Kaur negotiated the hat-trick ball. The skipper struck a couple of boundaries to ensure that the Powerplay score looked good.
The boundaries continued to flow even after the fielding restrictions were lifted before Sri Lanka struck at the vital time to remove the dangerous Shafali Verma for 31. One brought two for the hosts as Harmanpreet was trapped in front for 22.
The wicket put a lid on the scoring as boundaries were hard to come by. Richa Ghosh and Jemimah Rodrigues did manage to reconstruct with a 23-run partnership that came at little less than run-a-ball.
India were 85/5 with five overs to go and needed to go big in the death overs. Pooja Vastrakar set the tone for the remaining overs with two boundaries off Ranasinghe. The next over also fetched two fours for India but Inoka Ranaweera had the last laugh with the wicket of Vastrakar.
The wicket slowed down India with the overs 18 and 19 fetching only 12 runs. Deepti Sharma, though, teed off in the final over with three consecutive boundaries while Rodrigues finished the innings in style with a six. Overall, India scored 53 runs in the final five overs to post a total of 138/6, which eventually turned out to be a winning score.
Brief scores: India Women 138/6 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 36 not out, Shafali Verma 31; Inoka Ranaweera 3/30, Oshadi Ranasinghe 2/22) beat Sri Lanka Women 104/5 in 20 overs (Kavisha Dilhari 47 not out; Radha Yadav 2/22, Deepti Sharma 1/9) by 34 runs.