A stunning spell of leg-spin bowling by Parshavi Chopra led India to a hasty, seven-wicket triumph over Sri Lanka in their second Super Six match in the inaugural Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa, on Sunday. They displayed strong fight and bouncebackability after their loss against Australia just one day ago.
India knew they had to beat Sri Lanka convincingly as they looked for a semi-final slot in the tournament. Chopra cast a spell of accuracy and deception, nabbing four wickets for just 5 runs in her spell of four brilliant overs, which also included a maiden.
Amongst those was the key wicket of Sri Lanka captain Vishmi Gunaratne, who was bowled advancing down the wicket. She played for the conventional leg-spin, but Chopra had served up a googly, and the ball slipped past Gunaratne and crashed into off-stump.
At that point, the Sri Lanka skipper was going well on 25 (28 balls, with two boundaries), while the rest of her side collapsed around her, having been inserted by India. Chopra’s incisive spell saw Sri Lanka eventually reduced to 59 for nine in their alloted 20 overs, with only Umaya Rathnayake (13 from 36 balls) managing to reach double figures with the bat.
India’s resolve to bounce back immediately was evident in how miserly they were; just one wide was given away in the extras’ column. Mannat Kashyap took two for 16, while Titas Sadhu started the collapse by claiming a wicket with the very first ball of the day.
The chase from India was just as resolute. In her post-match interview, captain, Shafali Verma, admitted that the team had set themselves a target of eight overs to reach victory and they did just that. She led the charge, belting a six and a four in her 10-ball 15, while the in-form Shweta Sehrawat fell for 13, just as she was getting into her stride. Richa Ghosh hit her first ball to the fence, and was then caught off the next, as Dewmi Wijerathne claimed three wickets.
Sri Lanka could do nothing to stop the free-scoring Soumya Tiwari, who clattered five boundaries on her way to 28 not out, from just 15 deliveries. She leapt onto anything loose, as India improved their net run-rate significantly, reaching their target after just 7.2 overs.
India now faces a nervy wait to see what else transpires in their Super Six group. They sit on six points, while Australia and Bangladesh have four each. Both those sides still have one last match to play – both facing the UAE - and net run-rate will become a deciding factor if they both emerge victorious.
SL U19: 59 for nine (20) (Vishmi Gunaratne 25, Umaya Rathnayake 13, Parshavi Chopra 4/5, Mannat Kashyap 2/16)
India U19: 60 for three (7.2) (Soumya Tiwari 28 not out, Shafali Verma 15, Shweta Sehrawat 13, Dewmi Wijerathne 3/34)