Deepti, Ghosh help India make it two in two
Deepti Sharma became the first Indian, male or female, to reach 100 T20I wickets as she set up India’s six-wicket victory against the West Indies in Cape Town on Wednesday (February 15). On a wicket aiding the slower bowlers, Deepti finished with excellent figures of 3 for 15 from her four overs to restrict the opposition to 118/6. India stuttered a bit in the chase but a 72-run partnership between Richa Ghosh (44* off 32, 5 4s) and Harmanpreet Kaur (33 off 42, 3 4s) helped them over the line with 11 deliveries to spare to make it two wins out of two.
Shafali set the tone for the chase by striking three fours off Shamilia Connell in the opening over and followed it up with a boundary off Chinelle Henry. The bowler was also hit for two more fours by Smriti Mandhana, returning to the playing eleven after missing the first game due to a finger injury. Mandhana’s stay, however, was a short one as she was stumped off Karishma Ramharack in the fourth over and Hayley Matthews took a sharp catch off her own bowling to send Jemimah Rodrigues back to the hut. A boundary for Shafali off Ramharack helped India end the powerplay at 41/2.
A tight over from Matthews followed and in her bid to up the ante Shafali became the third to depart as she slog-swept Ramharack straight to deep backward square leg. The onus was on Harmanpreet and Ghosh to stabilise India’s innings and the Indian captain, after a slow start, struck successive fours off Afy Fletcher in an over that yielded 16 runs. Just before that, Stafanie Taylor had to be stretchered off the field after injuring herself while throwing. Meanwhile, offspinner Ramharack continued to strangle India as she gave away only four runs off her final over to finish with impressive figures of 2 for 14, with India managing only 64 in the first half of their innings.
But Connell ended up going for nine in her second over, which included a boundary for Ghosh, while Harmanpreet swept a full toss from Fletcher for a boundary to bring the equation down to 27 off the last six overs. Fletcher was also guilty of not collecting a throw properly, which would have given West Indies the chance to run Harmanpreet out. The half-century stand was raised shortly after, with the fourth wicket pair pacing their partnership well, with plenty of singles and twos interspersed with boundaries. India crossed 100 at the start of the 16th over when Ghosh pulled Henry for a four. Ghosh then hit two fours off Gajnabi and despite Henry dismissing Harmanpreet and bowling a maiden, India’s wicketkeeper-bat finished it off with a four in the penultimate over off Connell.
Earlier, after opting to bat, West Indies were sluggish during the powerplay as they managed only 29 runs and also lost Matthews early in the innings. Pooja Vastrakar got the West Indies captain edging to the ‘keeper with a delivery that moved late, dismissing Matthews for the fifth time, as she started with a wicket-maiden. Vastrakar conceded only five runs from her first two overs and despite Taylor and Shemaine Campbelle managing a few boundaries, West Indies could not make the most of the fielding restrictions.
The second wicket pair did pick up pace as the innings progressed, managing regular boundaries and rotating the strike well, as they added 73. But the set batters fell in quick succession to Deepti – Campbelle fell to a reverse sweep, with Mandhana taking a diving catch, while India used to review to send Taylor back lbw. Chinelle Henry was run out soon after as West Indies slipped to 79/4.
Shabika Gajnabi and Chedean Nation struck a boundary each off Devika Vaidya in the 17th over, and the former also edged a Vastrakar delivery for a four. But she fell to Renuka Singh and Deepti added another wicket to her tally by having Fletcher bowled in the final over, as India conceded 36 in the last five overs to complete a tidy job with the ball.
West Indies women 118/6 in 20 overs (Stafanie Taylor 42, Shemaine Campbelle 30; Deepti Sharma 3-15) lost to India women 119/4 in 18.1 overs (Richa Ghosh 44*, Harmanpreet Kaur 33; Karishma Ramharack 2-14) by 6 wickets.
Sri Lanka level series with big win in second ODI
Sri Lanka bounced back to beat Afghanistan by 132 runs on Sunday to square the three-match one-day series in Suriyawewa yesterday. It was Sri Lanka’s biggest win over Afghanistan in ODIs and makes amends for its disappointing performance in the first ODI on Friday, which they lost by six wickets,
Having set Afghanistan a stiff 324-run target, fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera dismissed the dangerous Rahmanulah Gurbaz cheaply for two runs to give his side an early advantage. Although Afghanistan put together two strong partnerships after that, the required run rate kept climbing and the Afghans lost their way trying to keep pace.
Opening batsman Ibrahim Zardan continued his good form, posting 54 runs while captain Hashmatullah Shahidi top scored with 57 runs, but once Sri Lanka dismissed the top order there was not much resistance from the rest of the batters.From 146 for two, Afghanistan collapsed to be bowled out for 191 runs in 42.1 overs, losing their last eight wickets for just 45 runs.
Spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Dhananjaya de Silva shared six wickets between them to seal a comprehensive win for the home side. Sri Lanka’s batting put on a show giving the team confidence ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe this month.
Afghanistan have already qualified for the World Cup and despite the heavy defeat on Sunday, will feel positive with star Rashid Khan expected to feature in the final game on Wednesday. The leg-spinner was ruled out of the first two games with a back injury.
Half-centuries by Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne helped Sri Lanka post their commanding total. While Mendis top scored with 78 runs off 75 balls with seven fours and one six, Karunaratne, who was recalled for this series to stabilize the batting, made 52 off 62 balls with seven fours. Opener Pathum Nissanka contributed 43 runs while Sadeera Samarawickrama, featuring in an ODI for the first time since 2019, made 44 off 46 balls.
There was some big hitting by the lower middle order with captain Dasun Shanaka chipping in with 23 runs while Wanindu Hasaranga finished things off in style with an unbeaten 29 off 12 balls with four fours and a six. Dhananjaya de Silva was named Man of the Match for his unbeaten 29 and three wickets.
Tharushi wins silver, Uththra clinches bronze Asian Junior Athletics Championships
By Reemus Fernando
Ratnayake Central, Walala runner Tharushi Karunaratne and Holy Cross College, Gampaha sprinter Jayeshi Uththara shared the silver and bronze medals respectively of the women’s 400 metres to give a winning start to Sri Lanka’s Asian Junior Athletics Championship campaign on day one of the event in South Korea on Sunday.
Karunaratne and Uththara reached the final as the second and third fastest from the heats held in the morning and those positions remained unchanged as they finished second and third respectively in the final.
Karunaratne clocked 53.70 seconds to finish second behind India’s Rezoana Mallick Heena who returned a time of 53.31 seconds for the gold. Uththara clocked 55.51 seconds for her bronze.
Commenting on their achievements Sri Lanka Athletics in a statement said that it was the first time in almost three decades that two Sri Lankan female athletes had won medals in a single event at the Asian Junior Championships.
The track and field governing body was referring to the gold and silver doubles of legendary Susanthika Jayasinghe and Damayanthi Dharsha who shared the gold and silver medals in the 100 metres and 200 metres with championship records at the 1994 edition held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
At the last edition held in Gifu, Japan Sri Lanka’s men’s pair of Aruna Dharshana and Pasindu Kodikara won the gold and silver medals in the men’s 400 metres. Karunaratne who is trained by veteran coach Susantha Fernando is set to compete in the women’s 800 metres final today where she will be the favourite for gold.
She returned an Asian leading time of 2:01.39 seconds at the selection trail held in March though her preparation for the event was plagued by a sickness forcing her to skip the recently held Junior National Championships. Tharushi will enter today’s race as the third fastest 800 metres runner in the world this year.
Dominant Sri Lanka claw back to level series
Sri Lanka came up with a dominant show with both bat and ball to stage a strong comeback and level the three-match series against Afghanistan on Sunday (June 4). Having lost the first ODI, the hosts staged a commendable comeback with their top four laying the platform for a 300-plus total which was then defended with ease as Afghanistan fell short by 132 runs.
Sri Lanka 323/6 in 50 overs (Kusal Mendis 78, Dimuth Karunaratne 52; Mohammad Nabi 2/52) beat Afghanistan 191 in 42.1 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 57, Ibrahim Zadran 54; Dhananjaya de Silva 3/39) by 132 runs
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