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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Cricket

Left to face the bitter truth
MVL Manikantan, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 05, 2013
First Published: 19:40 IST(5/2/2013)
Last Updated: 12:47 IST(6/2/2013)

There were two mountains to climb for India - 251 to qualify for the Super Sixes and 283 to win the match against Sri Lanka.

They failed to scale either as they were bowled out for 144 runs in 42.2 overs to crash out of the Women's World Cup at the Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday night. For some, it was 2007 all over again, when the India men failed to beat Sri Lanka in the final group game and exited the World Cup in the West Indies.

Batting meltdown
After some good performances with the bat in the tournament, the Indian top-order failed when it mattered most and the result was a devastating 138-run defeat. Mithali Raj, with an average of 52.25 in World Cups, failed to make a mark in front of her home supporters. The skipper threw away a good start on Tuesday and her dismal run of scores read  1*, 8 and 20.

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The centurion from the previous game, Harmanpreet Kaur, was dismissed for a second-ball duck while opener MD Thirushkamini, who scored a match-winning century against West Indies, gifted her wicket as she chased a wide delivery to be caught behind. The first four batswomen scored just 47 runs.

Once they slumped to 69 for five, the writing was on the wall for the hosts, and the drop in decibel level in the stands said it all. For the Island nation, their maiden victory over India was given shape by their batters.

Sri Lanka, after electing to bat, showed they had put behind the demoralising defeat against West Indies by amassing 282 for five in 50 overs. The team benefitted from solid contributions from their top-order, with four of them scoring half-centuries. Eshani Kaushalya repeated her heroics against England in the slog overs, scoring 56 off just 31 balls.

For Lanka, the decision to promote Deepika Rasangika to No 3 proved to be a masterstroke as she top-scored with 84. The heavy Sri Lankan scoring was also aided by India's poor performance in the field, a concern they have not been able to address in this tournament. New ball bowler Jhulan Goswami took three wickets and reached 150 wickets in ODIs. She is second only to Cathryn Fitzpatrick of Australia (180).

Brief scores:
Sri Lanka 282-5 in 50 overs (Rasangika 84, Siriwardene 59; Jhulan 3-63); India 144 in 42.2 overs (Malhotra 38, Kamini 22; Seneviratna 2-10, Siriwardene 2-20). Sri Lanka won by 138 runs.

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