Thursday, 6 July 2017

India v Sri Lanka, Women's World Cup 2017, Derby July 5, 2017 Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav lead India to fourth win in a row

India women 232 for 8 (Deepti 78, Raj 53, Sripali 3-28) beat Sri Lanka women 216 for 7 (Manodara 61, Yadav 2-23, Goswami 2-26) by 16 runs

If four top-order half-centuries had powered Sri Lanka's 138-run shock knockout blow to India in the 2013 World Cup in Mumbai, this time around their middle and lower order made a spirited attempt to bring India's winning streak to an end in Derby. But that was not to be as Deepti Sharma set up a 16-run victory - India's fourth successive one in the tournament - courtesy a 78-run knock and 10 crucial overs that returned 1 for 46.
After India opted to bat on a fresh pitch that barely had any tinge of green, Deepti's 118-run third-wicket partnership with captain Mithali Raj laid the platform for India's 232. While the total was 18 short of what Raj had originally intended to get, her decision to introduce legspinner Poonam Yadav in the 16th over proved crucial in ensuring it was enough. Yadav's mix of legbreaks and wrong 'uns sniped out two top-order batsmen in Chamari Atapattu and Nipuni Hansika, and bumped up the required rate with a flurry of dots.
To begin, it was Sri Lanka who kept a tight leash on things. Medium-pacer Sripali Weerakkodyand left-arm spinner Chandima Gunaratne bothered Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut in dominating opening spells with well-planned lengths, sending them back for 8 and 16 respectively. That India were off to a shaky, sluggish start at 39 for 2 in the 11th over was also down to Sri Lanka captain Inoka Ranaweera's attacking field placements. She ensured a short cover and short leg breathed down the batsmen's necks relentlessly even well after the first Powerplay.
Dropped on 5, Deepti initially struggled to put away both full and short deliveries, managing to score only 16 off 39. A release shot - a lofted sweep over square leg for four - off Weerakkody in the 15th over helped her find fluency. Thereafter, her strokeplay revolved around lofted shots over midwicket and the cover region, and singles off the back foot that were converted in twos. She brought up her sixth ODI fifty off the 89th ball of her innings, and took another 28 runs off the next 20 deliveries before failing to execute a lofted drive in the V.
With 13 overs left and only on 156 on the board, India experimented with the batting order and Jhulan Goswami came in at No. 5 ahead of the more-established power-hitters Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy. The move didn't quite work out, and the loss of wickets in pairs during that period further hurt India's chances of a late flourish. Goswami's run-a-ball 9 came to an end in the 40th over, only to be followed by Raj's dismissal for 53 the next ball. While Ranaweera removed the veterans, Weerakkody accounted for Harmanpreet and Krishnamurthy, who shared a 54-ball 50 stand before falling for 20 and 29 in the 49th over.
With the ball, too, India deviated from their set formula of introducing spin within the first six overs. Raj, instead, let her medium-pacers - Goswami and Mansi Joshi - share the new ball for a greater part of the Powerplay. Mansi swung the ball into the left-hand batsman Hansika and struck her plumb in front with the first delivery of her opening spell, but a stifled appeal and the lack of intent to review the umpire's decision meant Hansika could press on to score a 66-ball 29. Goswami's dismissal of Hasini Perera in the fifth over, however, dealt Sri Lanka a first blow, before Deepti, Yadav, Harmanpreet and Ekta Bisht began to operate in tandem to choke the chase with spin.
By the time Goswami came back in the 37th over, the required rate had climbed up to 9.28. Shashikala Siriwardene, the former captain who had played a substantial part to stun India in the last World Cup, however, refused to give in. Her 60-run stand with wicketkeeper Dilani Manodara inspired a late fightback. Siriwardene clobbered two fours apiece in the 37th and the 38th over and survived a couple of run-out chances before falling for 37 to Goswami.

Despite the breakthrough, Manodara motored on and kept the chase alive with a second ODI half-century that featured a healthy tally of inside-out drives, reverse sweeps and paddle scoops. Her resistance towards the end was made easier by a rather casual approach from India. A spread-out field ensured singles didn't dry up, and some sloppy fielding - including Goswami's boot-work in the outfield that gave away a four, and a missed stumping to reprieve Manodara - kept Sri Lanka in the game. It took a flighted offbreak from Deepti to end Manodara's 61-run innings in the 48th over and the lower order then managed only 25 runs out of 42 required off last 17 deliveries.

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