India women on seventh heaven
India produced yet another dominant display to take home their seventh Women's Asia Cup title as they brushed aside Sri Lanka with an eight-wicket victory in the grand finale at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Favourites India, who are the tournament's most successful side, showed their pedigree and experience in the final as their counterparts Sri Lanka crumbled, posting a meagre 65-9 after opting to bat first.
India pacer Renuka Singh was the pick of the bowlers scalping three wickets for just five runs which brought her the player of the match award.
Indian batters showed no jitters and romped to the target on the back of opener Smriti Mandhana's fifty as the right-hander hit a six to finish off proceedings.
Earlier, Sri Lanka got off to the worst possible start as opener Chamari Athapaththu got run out in the third over for six runs. Renuka then nicked off Harshitha Samarawickrama to add to their misery; the other opener Anushka Sanjeewani was also run out while attempting to complete a tight single.
Renuka added two more to her figures and the spinners settled in, leaving Sri Lanka in dire straits at 16-5.
Inoka Ranaweera top-scored with 18 runs as the reeling Lankans played out the 20 overs posting 65.
Besides, Renuka's three, left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad and off-spinner Sneh Rana picked up two wickets each, while Deepti Sharma, who topped the wicket-takers chart, went wicketless.
In reply, India lost experienced opener Shafali Verma for five and Jemimah Rodrigues for two inside the powerplay but Smriti motored on and smashed an unbeaten 51 runs off 25 balls as she hit six fours and three sixes and hit the winning runs with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur at the other end.
"We should credit our bowlers. Our fielding unit was good from ball one and we discussed that we should not give away easy runs. You have to read the wicket and accordingly place the fielders in the right positions. We read the wicket well and position fielders accordingly. We were not looking at the scoreboard but only decided on five-over targets. We never thought about what is the total on the board and batted accordingly," the India skipper said in the post-match interview.
Deepti was adjudged the player of the tournament for her all-round exploits, including 13 wickets and a useful 94 runs.