India 127 for 5 (Mandhana 39, Harmanpreet 31*) beat Sri Lanka 125 for 7 (Gunaratne 45, Athapaththu 43) by five wickets
When it started to look like Sri Lanka would post a strong total after their brisk 87-run opening stand and make India work hard to win the second match of the series, the hosts lost six wickets for just 14 runs in the last 3.1 overs of their innings to end with a below-par 125 that didn’t prove to be enough.
Sri Lanka’s best opening stand in T20Is
Athapaththu, meanwhile, had faced only three balls at the end of the fourth over and took seven balls to get off the mark after missing plenty of cuts and heaves. But once she hit her first boundary – a straight six off Deepti Sharma followed by a slog sweep for four in the same over – she cut loose. They collected 12 off the last powerplay over to reach 37 and found boundaries against both pace and spin to post 60 at the halfway mark. Athapaththu targeted her favoured leg side and was particularly attacking against Deepti to score 19 off her 10 balls. She also got two lives when she was dropped at cover point on 24 and survived a tough stumping chance on 34, when Renuka sent a wide down the leg side but Yastika Bhatia couldn’t hit the stumps.
Sri Lanka slide after opening stand
When Vastrakar and Harmanpreet conceded just 12 runs in the space of four overs, Gunaratne felt the pressure and also fell by handing a return catch to Harmanpreet for 45 off 50. No Sri Lanka batter reached double-figures thereafter as Deepti came back to remove Harshitha Samarawickrama and Nilakshi de Silva in the 18th over, Hasini Perera and Oshadi Ranasinghe fell in the 19th and Renuka removed Dilhari Kavisha in the last to keep the hosts’ tally of the last four overs to just 19 runs for five wickets.
Harmanpreet takes India home after a strong start
Mandhana started the chase with an exquisite cover drive, and Shafali Verma helped India put on 31 in four overs with her trademark power and charge down the pitch. She went after Ranasinghe’s offbreaks by hitting her over mid-off in the second over, and when she tried a third consecutive boundary against her in the fourth over, she found mid-off to fall for 17 off 10.
S Meghana took on left-arm quick Udeshika Prabodhani with four fours in the fifth over, using dabs behind square on either side, a well-timed cover drive and an outside edge, and India were 47 for 1 with one powerplay over left.
India, however, stuttered in between when three of their batters were stumped but they never looked in trouble. Meghana was stumped off Kumari for 17 in the sixth over, before Mandhana continued to pepper the off-side boundary with her drives and dabs. By the time she fell at the end of the 11th over, India needed a comfortable 40 from 54 balls.
India won’t be completely pleased with the performance though. They leaked overthrows and gave the hosts nearly three run-out chances in one ball when Harmanpreet swept a ball in the 18th over to deep midwicket and called for two, but Bhatia didn’t want the second. A wayward throw from the deep saved Bhatia, the fielder backing up couldn’t run her out either at the bowler’s end, and another throw reached the keeper’s end slightly late when the batters took the third run.
Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo