Host India was dealt a knockout blow by qualifier Sri Lanka in a surprise result in the final Group A match at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai on Tuesday, in front of a vocal crowd who were left disappointed.
Sri Lanka beat India by a massive 138 runs to book a place in the Super Six stage for the first time in its history. This was also Sri Lanka’s first win in ODIs against India.
India, on the other hand, will now have to travel to Cuttack to play a seventh place play-off against Pakistan on Thursday, 7 February.
On Tuesday, Sri Lanka after electing to bat posted an impressive 282 for five in its 50 overs. It was all thanks to player of the match Deepika Rasangika’s 84. The other contributions were from opener Yasoda Mendis (55), Shashikala Siriwardena (59) and Eshani Kaushalya (56).
India paid the price for some indisciplined bowling, with Jhulan Goswami (3-63) and Gouher Sultana (0-72) being the most expensive of the lot.
India needed to score 251 to stay afloat in the tournament, but it lost wickets at regular intervals in the chase. Reema Malhotra (38) top-scored for India, with no other significant contribution from the rest of the batters.
India was finally bowled out for 144 in 42.2 overs to hand Sri Lanka a massive win. Chamani Seneviratna (2-10) and skipper Siriwardena (2-20) were the key wicket-takers for Sri Lanka.
A dejected India captain Mithali Raj later said: “I think honestly 280 is something I didn’t expect Sri Lanka to score with the kind of bowling attack we had. When we chase a big total it is very important to a have very good start. We lost an early wicket and then as we built a partnership between me and Thrirush Kamini, things went wrong. Then we lost Harmanpreet and that’s where I thought the match turned (in their favour).”
Raj was particularly disappointed with the bowling at the death. “The Sri Lankans scored most of their runs square off the wicket. All the bowlers were off colour today. I guess we can expect one or two to be off colour but not all of them. I won’t say it was complacency, but I had a lot of faith in my bowlers. The kind of attack I had I felt 282 was a lot.’’
Raj said that the first target was always 283 but later the team revised it to 251 to qualify. “Our first intention when we went to bat was to chase 283, but as we lost wickets that definitely played in the players’ mind. All of them were aware of the 251 target.”
Raj was still hopeful about the future. “There are a lot of positives we can take from the young players like Kamini, Poonam, Harmanpreet and Karuna Jain. It is disappointing to be out of the tournament as the host team, but these girls in the future will perform well for India.”
Raj did not want to look ahead to the seventh place play-off against Pakistan. “I can’t comment on that. I am not in a position to think about that game.”
Sri Lanka captain Siriwardena was thrilled by the result for her team. “This is a very comfortable win but it is the first time we are beating India after 18 matches. It is a special victory.
“I can’t believe it actually. It is a dream come true for us. We finished last in 2009 under my captaincy. We have improved after the last World Cup, especially in our batting. So I am really relaxed and relieved. I got a call from my home and they are really excited. Also Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapakse called which really made my day.”
Siriwardena explained how the team regrouped after the loss against West Indies.
“We did not field well against West Indies. We wanted to bring in players who are good fielders. We had to remove No 3 batter Prasadini. Coach and management talked about it and we wanted to promote Rasangika. She had batted really well in the domestic season at No 3.”
Siriwardena regarded this win as the biggest moment in her career, also her first day-night match as a Sri Lanka player.
“Yes (it is my biggest achievement), I am seriously super happy. This could be my last World Cup, and I wanted to do something special for the team. We are the only team from Asia to have qualified for the Super Six. So I think more people from India will like us winning (from) now (on).”
Scores in Brief
West Indies 101 all out, 36.4 overs (Kyshona Knight 33, Daley 30 not out; Shrubsole 4-21, Brunt 2-10, Brindle 3-0)
England 103-4, 35 overs (Wyatt 40; Dottin 3-20)
England won by six wickets
Sri Lanka 282-5, 50 overs (Deepika Rasangika 84, Shashikala Siriwardena 59, Eshani Kaushalya 56, Yasoda Mendis 55; Goswami 3-63)
India 144, 42.2 overs (Malhotra 38, Kamini 22, Goswami 22; Seneviratna 2-10, Siriwardene 2-20)
Sri Lanka won by 138 runs
At Barabati Stadium
South Africa 207-5, 50 overs (Kapp 102 not out, Van Niekerk 55 not out; Qanita 2-30, Asmavia 2-31)
Pakistan 81, 29.4 overs (Kapp 3-18, Letsoalo 2-17)
South Africa won by 126 runs
At DRIEMS Cricket Ground
New Zealand 227-6, 50 overs (Bates 102, Perkins 41, Browne 39 not out; Schutt 3-40)
Australia 228-3, 38.2 overs (Lanning 112, Cameron 82)
Australia won by seven wickets