Women’s Asia Cup: All-round India thrash Sri Lanka by eight wickets to win seventh continental title – Firstcricket News, Firstpost
India produced a dominant all-round show against Sri Lanka, hammering them by eight wickets in the Women’s Asia Cup Final in Sylhet on Saturday to be crowned continental champions for a seventh time.
India pacer Renuka Singh breathed fire in the summit clash, her destructive spell of 3/5 from three overs along with vital contributions from spinners Sneh Rana (2/13) and Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/16) restricting the Chamari Athapaththu-led side to a paltry 65/9 after the Lankans won the toss and opted to bat.
In-form opener Smriti Mandhana then led the way with the bat, smashing an unbeaten 51 off just 25 deliveries as the ‘Women in Blue’ chased down the 66-run target with 69 balls remaining to cap off a perfect day in office. Mandhana reached her milestone with a four and a six off Oshadi Ranasinghe, the latter sealing the game in India’s favour.
The Women in Blue got off to a perfect start with a 32-run opening stand between Mandhana and Shafali Verma, but hit a roadblock of sorts with the quick dismissals of Verma (5) and Jemimah Rodrigues (2). Mandhana and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur then ensured there were no further hiccups as they got the side home with an unbroken 36-run third-wicket stand.
While Renuka Singh won the ‘Player of the Final’ award for her outstanding spell, star all-rounder Deepti Sharma was adjudged the ‘Player of the Series’ after finishing as the leading wicket-taker in the series (13; ave: 7.69; eco: 3.33) and also proving handy with the bat with a 64 against UAE.
“I am very happy because in the last few games I did not bowl well. I worked hard with the coach and it worked. I did not try anything different and just focused on my basics. My whole team supports me, including the captain and coach,” Renuka said during the post-match ceremony after collecting her award.
India had won six consecutive Asian titles since the tournament first began in 2004, and were strong favourites to win a seventh on the trot in the final against Bangladesh in Kuala Lumpur four years back — only to be handed a stunning defeat by the Salma Khatun-led side.
India, however, lived up to their favourites billing in the 2022 edition — the fourth to be contested in the 20-over format — as they notched up one dominant victory after another during the round-robin stage top finish on top of the table.
Their only loss came at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan, who beat them by 13 runs on Friday, 7 October. Pakistan finished level on points with the Indians, but finished behind on Net Run Rate. They lost out on a rematch with the Indians in the final after suffering a one-run loss to Sri Lanka in the second semi-final, the Lankans reaching the final of a major tournament after 14 years as a result.
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