India captain Harmanpreet Kaur led from the front as her side defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets on Satruday in Dambulla in the second T20I to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, hosts Sri Lanka were in a solid position after a record partnership in this format against India. Harmanpreet Kaur and Co were staring a bigger target than they would have hoped for on a slow, low pitch in Dambulla. But once the opening partnership was broken and the second wicket fell, India were in control for the remainder of the match except for a few hiccups at the end of the chase.
Captain Harmanpreet Kaur took one of those crucial wickets while bowling to trigger the Sri Lankan collapse and then saw her side through in the end. She was declared the player of the match.
Openers Chamari Athapaththu and Vishmi Gunaratne were off to a steady start before upping the ante, and when the captain was dismissed they had already put on the best ever partnership in format for Sri Lanka against India. Vastarkar then had Athapaththu out caught at deep square leg and not long after the move to bring herself on worked for Harmanpreet. Her wicket of the 16-year-old Vishmi Gunaratne triggered a big batting collapse for the hosts. They went from 106/1 to 125/7 in the last few overs.
On a pitch that the Indian vice captain Smriti Mandhana described later as a tricky one to bat on, Shafali Verma and S Meghana played brief but important cameos to make sure their side made the most of the powerplay. Mandhana said that was the plan, so that they could keep things ticking over once the field restrictions were eased as she and Harmanpreet snuffed out any chances Sri Lanka had. Even though things got tighter than they would have liked in the end with the pitch getting slower, Harmanpreet finished things off at the start of the final over.
India had made two changes to the team with Yastika Bhatia replacing Richa Ghosh behind the stumps. Mandhana said later that both youngsters are good batters and it is now a process of seeing who fits better with the gloves as well as batting in the middle order.
The third and final T20I is on Tuesday at the same venue.
Most runs by Indian women in T20Is
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Yastika Bhatia(w), Jemimah Rodrigues, S Meghana, Deepti Sharma, Simran Bahadur, Pooja Vastrakar, Renuka Singh, Radha Yadav
Sri Lanka: Chamari Athapaththu (c), Vishmi Gunaratne, Harshitha Madavi, Hasini Perera, Kavisha Dilhari, Nilakshi de Silva, Anushka Sanjeewani (w), Oshadi Ranasinghe, Sugandika Kumari, Inoka Ranaweera, Udeshika Prabodhani.