Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav shine as India women beat Sri Lanka women to win 1st T20I by 34 runs

Post Mithali Raj’s international retirement, the Indian women’s cricket team returned to the 22-yard cricket strip on Thursday (June 23). India started their Sri Lanka tour, with the three-match T20I series opener at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla. This was also their first-ever appearance on the pitch following the heartbreaking 2022 Women’s World Cup exit, early this year. 

In the first T20I, Harmanpreet & Co. opted to bat first on a tricky surface. Despite losing Smriti Mandhana for 1, Shefali Verma provided some kind of a start for the visitors for a run-a-ball 31. From thereon, the onus fell on skipper Harman who contributed with a 20-ball 22. However, Jemimah Rodrigues — on a comeback trail — impressed the most as she was India’s highest run-scorer (27-ball 36) whereas the likes of wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh, Deepti Sharma and fast-bowling all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar chipped in with handy runs down the order as India posted 138 for 6 in their full quota of overs. 

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In reply, Sri Lanka kept on losing wickets at regular intervals as their top order failed to seize the momentum. Kavisha Dilhari was the top-scorer of the match, returning with a 49-ball 47, however, none of the Lankan batter looked settled and, hence, struck at below 100. Only Ama Kanchana and Anushka Sanjeewani struck at slightly over 100 when the run-chase had already gone out of hand.

After the win, Player-of-the-Match Jemimah said at the post-match presentation, “The pitches are similar to back home in Mumbai and I just applied myself, played my natural game. I love this country and it is a privilege for us to come and play some cricket here. Lot of support from the crowd and Sri Lankan cricket board as well.”

Harmanpreet-led India will face the hosts in the second and penultimate T20I on Saturday (June 25) at the same venue with an aim to win the series.