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Taniya stars, India win series 

Galle, September 13

The Indian women’s cricket team held its nerve in pressure situations to beat Sri Lanka by seven runs in the second ODI, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Batting first, India were bowled out for 219 in 50 overs on a slow track, rescued by young Chandigarh wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia, whose 68 off 66 balls turned out to be a match-winning knock.

In reply, India bowled out the hosts for 212 in 48.1 overs, with seamer Mansi Joshi taking 3/51 and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad chipping in with 2/37. 

Put in to bat, the Indians failed to get going as they struggled to come to terms with a slow wicket. Veteran skipper Mithali Raj, who consumed 121 balls to score 52, became overcautious after India lost their first three wickets for 36 by the 12th over. In the middle overs, Mithali simply couldn’t keep the scoreboard ticking as she failed to find the gaps. She had come to bat in the fifth over and was finally dismissed in the 39th over, when the Indian total was 142 and the run rate was well below four an over. Thereafter, though, youngsters Taniya and Dayalan Hemlatha (35 off 31 balls) pushed the scoring rate. This helped India smash 77 runs in 11.1 overs after Mithali’s fall.

India could have ended up with a bigger score but the team lost four wickets in the final over, bowled by part-time seamer Chamari Atapattu, who ended up with 3/42.

In the chase, Chamari (57 off 95 balls) and Shashikala Siriwardene (49) added 89 runs for the fourth wicket to keep the islanders afloat. However, Shashikala was run-out and Mansi took a return catch to dismiss Chamari as Sri Lanka went from 129/3 to 134/5.

Later, Damayanthi de Silva (31 off 19 balls) kept Sri Lanka’s hopes alive, hitting two fours and two sixes as she added 40 runs for the eighth wicket with Kalua Prabodhani (7). At 205/7 in 46.3 overs, Sri Lanka needed 15 runs from 21 deliveries with three wickets in hand. But Rajeshwari cleaned up Kalua and Mansi got Damayanthi to edge one to Taniya behind the stumps to make it 207 for nine. With only eight required off the last two overs, Mithali asked off-spinner Deepti Sharma to bowl the penultimate over. Last batter Inoka Ranaweera was stumped by Taniya as she went for a wild slog, handing India a seven-run win. 

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