Skipper Mithali Raj-led Indian eves were unable to make full use of home conditions as they faced a 138-run defeat against Sri Lanka in the ICC Women’s World Cup at Brabourne Stadium yesterday. The defeat signalled curtains for the Indian eves.
Meanwhile, it was celebration time for the Sri Lankans who registered their first ever win against India in 18 matches that the two have played. They lost 16 times and one match ended without a result.
Mithali, the No 1 batswoman in ODIs on the ICC Women’s Player Rankings, admitted their bowlers had let them down. “I didn’t expect Sri Lanka to score 280 runs. But we were aware that we needed an opening partnership. Being the hosts, it is disappointing to be out of the tournament. I had a lot of faith in my bowlers, but today all of them were off-colour. Bowling in the power plays and in the death overs is an area of concern,” the skipper said.
When asked if the team’s fielding was at par with that of England and Sri Lanka, she said that they weren’t far behind. “I don’t think we are far behind in our fielding. We have fielded well in the tournament,” she said.
Though all-rounder Jhulan Goswami gave away 63 runs in 10 overs, Mithali came out in defence of her teammate. “If one player is off-colour, others have to support her. I didn’t expect the rest of the players to be off-colour too. Jhulan hasn’t let me down as she played well against England and West Indies. She has won some amazing matches for India but today it just wasn’t her day.”
Earlier, some poor bowling and fielding from the Indian eves saw Sri Lankans score 282-5 in the stipulated 50 overs. India needed 251 runs to qualify for the Super Six stage of the tournament but they were bowled out for 144 in 42.2 overs. India missed pacer Nagarajan Niranjana, as the onus of taking wickets was thrust solely on Jhulan Goswami’s shoulders. Shubhlakshmi Sharma, who was included in the team in place of Niranjana, gave away 52 runs off her nine overs.
While batting, India lost their openers and were 38-3 in 13 overs. The middle-order failed too as India kept losing wickets in quick succession. The partnership that stood out for India was the 37-run sixth-wicket stand between Goswami and Reema Malhotra (38).
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan skipper Shashikala Siriwardene was excited to lead her team into the Super Six stage. “This win is special considering the fact that we beat India for the first time. Everybody back home is excited to see our match live on TV. This is the first time that we have entered the Super Six stage and it is the biggest achievement of my career. This is also my last World Cup and I am super happy. I wanted to do something special and it couldn’t have been better,” she said.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa called the captain to congratulate them. “He (Rajapaksa) said he was very happy with the victory and wished us luck for the rest of the tournament,” said Siriwardena.
Sri Lanka: 282 for five in 50 overs (Deepika Rasangika 84, Shashikala Siriwardene 59; Jhulan Goswami 3-63, Amita Sharma 1-41) beat
India: 144 all out in 44.2 overs (Reema Malhotra 38; Chamini Seneviratna 2-10, Shashikala Siriwardene 2-20) by 138 runs