India Women opened their account in the Women’s World Cup Qualifier, 2017 with a 114-run win in their opening game against Sri Lanka. Mithali Raj’s unbeaten 70 helped India set Sri Lanka a 260-run target after Deepti Sharma (54 off 96) and Devika Vaidya (89 off 103) set the stage for a formidable total with a 123-run stand. Spinners then bowled India to a thumping win. Ekta Bisht and Rajeshwari Gayakwad picked two wickets each while Deepti returned to claim one.
After electing to bat in SL, India lost Mona Meshram with just nine runs on the board. Trapped lbw by KDU Prabodhani on the last ball of the fifth over, the opener departed for six runs. Vaidya then joined Deepti Sharma in an effort to lay a platform for a solid total. The duo bided their time at the crease as they worked diligently to build a partnership. Having taken the measure of the conditions for a couple of overs, the pair began by running hard between the wickets and finding the gaps for a boundary at regular intervals to keep pressure from building.
After taking the team past the three-figure mark, both batters brought up their half-centuries as they worked to maintain a steady flow of runs. Deepti and Vaidya had set the stage for the batters to follow until SIP Fernando accounted for the opener.
At 132 for two, Mithali joined Vaidya in the 32nd over to help build on the foundation laid by the youngsters. The India captain took the attack to the opposition as she capitalised on the platform set by the Deepti-Vaidya partnership. Coming in to bat at No 4, she drove and punched the ball with panache as she plundered runs off the Sri Lankan attack.
Mithali then forged useful partnerships and kept the momentum in India's favour with a scintillating batting display. She added 49 runs for the fourth wicket with Vaidya, who had helped India, seize the advantage after a slow start to the innings until the No 3 bat was sent back by Prabodhani for 89.
Mithali then continued to milk the SL bowlers with Harmanpreet Kaur for company. The pair upped the ante with a 63-run stand until the all-rounder was caught by the wicketkeeper off SS Weerakkody. Veda Krishnamurthy then joined her captain in adding 15 runs off the last eight deliveries to set SL a 260-run target.
The Indian spinners then kept the SL lineup on a tight leash to bowl their team to victory. Soni Yadav and Shikha Pandey opened the bowling with maidens and kept SL from opening their account for the first two overs. Biding their time at the crease, Jayangani and Kaushalya put up 42 runs until Ekta Bisht struck. Brought into the attack in the 12th over, the spinner responded with the wicket of Kaushalya. 23 runs later, Deepti caught Jayangani off her own bowling and Rajeshwari Gayakwad accounted for MDN Hansika in the next over. Left on 67 for three at the end of 25 overs, pressure began to mount for the Sri Lankans. The Indian attack continued to maintain a strangle hold on the SL lineup as they curbed the flow of runs and struck at regular intervals.
With MADD Surangika run out, the fourth wicket stand was ended for 29 and 21 runs later GWHM Perera too was run out leaving SL on 116 for five. And off the next ball, M Shehani was bowled by Bisht. Couple of overs later P Weerakkody was run out by Gayakwad. The spinner then sent back S Weerakody a bit later to leave SL on 131 for eight. With the result a foregone conclusion Prabhodini and Fernando then extended the innings to see SL through to their quota of 50 overs.