Women’s Asia Cup: Meghana, Shafali, Richa shine as India beat Malaysia by 30 runs in rain-affected match

Sabbhineni Meghana struck her maiden T20I fifty and shared a 116-run opening stand with Shafali Verma, the highest partnership in the tournament till now, to set the base for India beating Malaysia by 30 runs via DLS method in the rain-affected match of the Women’s Asia Cup at Sylhet Outer Cricket Stadium on Monday.

The win on Monday is also India’s second successive victory in the league stage of the tournament, standing on par with Pakistan in points. But due to Pakistan having a superior net run rate, India are second on the points table behind them.

Meghana, opening the batting with Shafali in place of Smriti Mandhana, who was one of the four players to be rested apart from Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar and Renuka Thakur for the match against Malaysia, struck a stroke-filled knock of 69 off 53 balls, hitting 11 crisp fours and a six at a strike-rate of 130.18 after India were inserted into batting first.

While Shafali was scratchy and attempted to find some rhythm, Meghana was at her free-flowing best to get her fifty in her 13th T20I match for India, using her wrists well to hit eye-catchy punches, drives and slog-sweeps with immaculate ease before being dismissed in the 14th over.

Shafali found some rhythm with 46 off 39 balls, smashing a four and three sixes before being clean bowled in the 19th over, a knock which would do good to her confidence and towards the path of finding form.

Despite Kiran Navgire falling for a golden duck, Richa Ghosh made a quickfire 33 not out off 19 balls, smacking five fours and a six, while Dayalan Hemalatha hit a four and six on the last two balls of the innings as India posted a massive 181/4. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma not batting at their usual positions to give batting chances to other batters’.

In response, Malaysia lost their openers, captain Winifred Duraisingam and Wan Julia inside first 19 balls of their chase, to Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad respectively, before rain paused the proceedings at 5.2 overs.

It was enough to be constituted as a game and for the DLS method to be implemented, with India winning by 30 runs, thanks to the fast start by Meghana in power-play. When rain stopped the match, DLS par score at that moment was 46, of which Malaysia were well behind. India’s next match will be against UAE at the same venue on Tuesday.

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