Women’s T20I series preview – Sri Lanka vs India

Sri Lanka vs India – women’s T20Is

Matches: 12
India wins: 9
Sri Lanka wins: 3

Highest total: Sri Lanka 148/7 at Vizianagaram, 25th Jan 2014
High score: Mithal Raj (IND) 67 at Vizianagaram, 25th Jan 2014
Best bowling: Diana David (IND) 4-12 at Basseterre, 10th May 2010

Last six meetings:
SL bt IND by 22 runs at Sylhet, 24th March, 2014 (World T20)
IND bt SL by 34 runs at Ranchi, 22th February 2016
IND bt SL by 5 wickets at Ranchi, 24th February 2016
IND bt SL by 9 wickets at Ranchi, 26th February 2016
IND bt SL by 52 runs at Bangkok, 1st December 2016 (Asia Cup)
IND bt SL by 7 wickets at Kuala Lumpur, 7th Jun 2018 (Asia Cup)

Recent T20I form:
India – LWWWLWWL
Sri Lanka – LWLWWLLL


Following an ODI series that finished 2-1, Sri Lanka and India begin a five-match T20I series on Wednesday.  Both teams will be playing their first T20I series under new coaches, with the World T20 less than eight weeks away.

Since the 2017 World Cup, Sri Lanka have managed just 3 wins in 11 T20I matches (one each vs Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia), and at the Asia Cup, lost for the first time to Thailand.  The ODI series vs India already suggested  some progress has been made since Harsha de Silva’s return as coach.

India began the year with an impressive away series win (3-1) in South Africa, that suggested they may have turned a corner in their T20I performance.  There was no shame in being outplayed in a home tri-series vs Australia and England (the only two sides with professional domestic T20 leagues), but the alarm bells were deafening after India’s Asia Cup campaign.

Confusing selections (Jemimah Rodrigues, arguably the most promising young batter in world cricket, didn’t play a game) and tentative play saw one of the best funded sides in the World get beaten (twice) by Bangladesh, a side run on a relative shoestring.  The acrimonious fallout from the tournament led to Tushar Arothe’s resignation as coach, with Ramesh Powar taking over the role in July.


Women’s T20Is have been something of a rarity in Sri Lanka in recent years.  Pakistan’s visit in March of this year, was the first series of women’s T20I matches (a series Pakistan won 2-1) to be played on the island since the West Indies visited in May 2015.  In the intervening period Australia cruised to victory in a solitary match, at Colombo in September 2016.

The women’s T20I run rate in Sri Lanka (5.54 rpo) is the second lowest among the established top ten nations, only beating Pakistan (5.16 rpo), which has hosted just two T20Is.  To labour the point, 160/5 (by England at NCC Colombo in 2010) is the second lowest high-total in any of the top ten T20I nations, again only beating Pakistan.

In all, there have been just two 150+ totals made in Sri Lanka.  Sri Lanka’s own highest total at home is 132/6 vs South Africa at the MCA Gorund in 2014.  Chasing sides have a 23-14 win-loss record, including winning seven of the last ten matches.

Against all that history, it’s likely, given the changes in the T20I playing conditions last year, and some in form batters on both sides, that this series will showcase a somewhat different brand of women’s T20 to that previously seen in Sri Lanka.

In matches between the top ten nations, the run rate in 2018 (7.09 rpo) is higher than any previous year in which more than one women’s T20I match was played.  India, while not at the front of the pack, are still among the faster scoring sides in 2018 (7.34 rpo in all T20Is).  Sri Lanka are the weakest top ten nation in that regard (5.38 rpo), only outperforming teams that were awarded T20I status in June.

Historically, Sri Lanka’s home record is the worst (5 wins, 17 losses) among the top ten T20I nations.  Among all women’s T20I teams, only Malaysia and the Netherlands, neither of whom have ever won a T20I, fare worse than Sri Lanka’s home W/L ratio of 0.294.

Coupled with that, India have the best record at away or neutral venues among the top ten nations since the start of 2016 (13 wins, 4 losses. A win/loss ratio of 3.250).

T20I results 2016-present Home Away/neutral
Result Won Lost Won Lost
Sri Lanka 1 3 5 13
India 5 9 13 4

Much as in ODIs, Mithali Raj looms large over T20I contests between Sri Lanka and India.  Raj has 346 runs at an average of 57.66 and a SR of 104.84 in ten T20I innings vs Sri Lanka, and is the only woman to have made more than one fifty (4) in India vs Sri Lanka T20I matches.  Her 67 at Vizianagaram (a match India went on to lose) is the highest individual score in India vs Sri Lanka T20Is.

Since the 2017 World Cup, Smriti Mandhana has been India women’s highest run scorer. Mandhana is the second highest scorer in ODIs (669) and fourth highest in T20Is (433, just ahead of Raj’s 415, but at a much greater SR) in that time.  Among players to have scored 200+ runs since the World Cup, Mandhana has the 6th highest SR (135.73) in women’s T20Is.

Through July and August, Mandhana completed a successful debut stint in the KSL for Western Storm (421 runs at an astonishing SR of 174.68), which propelled them to finals day.

Mandhana has played against Sri Lanka more than any other T20I side in her career (7 innings) but doesn’t have a particularly strong record against them.  Her SR of 96.92 vs Sri Lanka, compared with a career rate of 113.06 is a microcosm of her career record against Asian teams as a whole.

In 21 innings vs non-Asian sides (AUS, ENG, NZ, SA & WI), Mandhana has 524 runs at an average of 29.11, a SR of 127.18, with five half-centuries, and a HS of 76 (vs England at Mumbai in March).

In 20 innings vs Asian sides (Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, none particularly renowned women’s T20I sides), Mandhana has 333 runs at 17.52, a SR of 96.24 and a HS of 43* (vs Sri Lanka at Ranchi in 2016).

Sri Lanka will hope Chamari Atapattu can carry her impressive ODI form into the T20Is.  Atapattu’s 57 in the 2nd ODI was her maiden fifty vs India, having played against them ten times before in ODIs.  She then followed it with her (and Sri Lanka’s) first ODI century vs India, to propel them to a first ODI win vs India since 2013.  Her 115 at Katunayake was also her first century in an ODI chase.

Atapattu has played 11 T20Is vs India, with a HS of 43 and a SR of 81.39.  The only opponents against whom she has a lower T20I SR are West Indies (74.81) and England (41.17).

Sri Lanka’s unimpressive recent record in T20Is has in part been due to missing Atapattu’s service during the Asia Cup, and her poor form in the matches she has played since the World Cup (54 runs in 6 innings vs West Indies & Pakistan).  Following her World Cup heroics vs Australia, Atapattu became the first, and so far only, Sri Lankan to earn contracts in the KSL and WBBL, though she hasn’t really kicked on in those leagues since making 66* vs Loughborough Lightning in her third KSL match in 2017.

With a modest 171 runs at an average 21.37 and a SR of 91.93, Anushka Sanjeewani has been Sri Lanka’s best performer with the bat in T20Is since the World Cup.  Sanjeewani’s 61 vs Pakistan in March is the highest score, and only half-century, by a Sri Lankan woman in a home T20I.

It’s little surprise then, that Sri Lanka have looked in danger of being left behind as the women’s T20 batting revolution gathers pace.

In the two years prior to the change in women’s international playing conditions, the average T20I batting SR was 93.42.  Sri Lankan batters collectively had the second lowest SR in that period (77.32), with only Bangladesh (70.36) faring worse.

In matches between the established top ten women’s T20I nations (AUS, BAN, ENG, IND, IRE, NZ, PAK, SA, SL, WI), since the change of playing conditions, the average batting SR has been 111.39.

Sri Lanka (79.25) along with Pakistan (82.23), are yet to change with the times.

Women’s T20I batting strike rate (matches between top 10 nations only):

Team Sep’15 – Sep’17 Since Sep‘17 SR Difference % Difference
AUS 101.04 136.49 +35.45 +35.08
NZ 104.92 129.44 +24.52 +23.37
BAN 70.36 93.21 +22.85 +32.48
SA 96.76 119.40 +22.64 +23.40
IND 97.33 115.74 +18.41 +18.91
IRE 84.68 102.19 +17.51 +20.68
ENG 116.30 132.63 +16.33 +14.04
WI 99.31 110.82 +11.51 +11.59
SL 77.32 79.25 +1.93 +2.49
PAK 82.23 81.43 -0.80 -0.97
Average 93.42 111.40 +17.98 +19.25

Despite the overall rate of six-hitting greatly increasing in women’s T20Is over the last year (one six every 59 balls faced in matches among the top 10 nations, compared with one every 95 balls over the two previous years), Sri Lanka have managed to hit just one T20I six since the 2017 World Cup (Yasoda Mendis vs Malaysia during the Asia Cup).  The last Sri Lankan woman to hit a T20I six at home was Eshani Lokusuriyage vs West Indies on 25th May 2015.

There were signs in the ODI series that Sri Lanka may be making progress in that regard that might continue into the T20I series.  The seven sixes Sri Lanka hit in their win at Katunayake on Sunday were the most they had ever struck in an ODI.  Importantly, they weren’t all from the bat of Atapattu, with Hasini Perera hitting two and Nilakshi de Silva, one.

De Silva’s form in the last two ODIs has been strikingly different to anything she’d displayed internationally before.  In seven previous ODI innings, De Silva had 37 runs off 122 balls at a paltry SR of 30.32, having never managed an innings SR above 50.0.  In her last two innings, she scored 31 off 19 and 15 off 9, hitting her first (3) international sixes in the process.  Could her T20I batting fortunes, which have been similarly unremarkable up until now, be about to change too?

The real find for Sri Lanka in the ODIs looked to be Kavisha Dilhari.  In the 3rd ODI, Dilahari sent down 10 overs of accurate offspin for the most economical figures among Sri Lanka’s bowlers on the day, and became her country’s youngest ever international wicket taker in the process.  Dilhari then kept her cool with the bat, including dillscooping Mansi Joshi for a boundary in the penultimate over, to see Sri Lanka over the line as they wobbled in their chase.

As a bowling side, Sri Lanka look a more convincing outfit.  In matches among the top ten since the World Cup, only Pakistan’s bowlers (5.88 rpo) have a better collective ER, than Sri Lanka’s (5.98 rpo).

A large factor in this though, is the opposition faced, and surfaces played on.  Ninth ranked, England (7.77 rpo) have exclusively faced some of the biggest hitting sides in the world on true batting surfaces, while Sri Lanka have only played in Asia and the Caribbean, and against less explosive line-ups.  Teams obviously also don’t need to score as fast vs Sri Lankan bowlers if they’re faced with the modest targets often set by Sri Lankan batters.

When the timescale is expanded to cover the last three years, Sri Lanka’s ER rises to 6.22 rpo, but that remains better than the average (6.28) for the period and still ranks them 5th, and ahead of teams like Australia, England and South Africa.

Since the World Cup, Sri Lanka’s most successful T20I bowler has been left-arm spinner Sugandika Kumari.  Her 13 wickets make her the ninth highest wicket taker in women’s T20Is in that period, with an excellent ER of 3.96 rpo.

India’s stand out T20 bowler is legspinner Poonam Yadav.  India may not have had a great Asia Cup, but Yadav’s 4-9 vs Bangladesh in the final were the best figures in an Asia Cup knock-out match, and saw her become the fastest Indian, and third fastest woman overall to take 50 T20I wickets.

Since the World Cup, Yadav has 19 wickets, making her the second highest wicket taker in women’s T20Is for the period.  In record high-scoring series vs South Africa, England and Australia, Yadav was India’s highest wicket taker (9) and had an ER of 6.78 rpo.  The average bowling ER across those two series (the two highest run-rate series India women have played in, and the 2nd & 4th highest overall in women’s T20Is) was 7.89 rpo.

Jhulan Goswami, who recently retired from T20Is, will surely be missed for India, but her record vs Sri Lanka in T20Is wasn’t overwhelming (3 wickets in 9 innings at an avearge of 54.66 and an ER of 5.46 rpo).  The increasingly impressive Mansi Joshi, looks the most likely fast bowler to take up Goswami’s mantle as leader of the Indian attack.

In terms of India vs Sri Lanka T20I contests, left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht has been by far the highest wicket taker, with 19 wickets in just 8 innings.  Bisht has taken at least one wicket in every T20I she’s played against Sri Lanka.  Four of the seven times Bisht has taken 3+ wickets in a T20I have been against Sri Lanka.


The traditionally difficult batting conditions for women’s T20I cricket in Sri Lanka could well be ideal preparation for the low, slow surface likely to be seen in the Caribbean for the World T20 in November.

India are strong favourites for this series, but need to do more than simply come away with a series win to convince as contenders for the World T20.  Sri Lanka have struggled in recent times, and don’t fare well in home conditions, while India are among the best performing sides away from home.  Even in light of Sri Lanka’s ODI victory on Sunday, and the greater competitiveness that the T20 format often provides, it would be a surprise (and a major concern for their well-resourced visitors) if the hosts manage to pick up more than a one-off win during the series.


Landmarks to look out for:

Jhulan Goswami’s retirement from T20I cricket means India’s bowlers now have a set target to aim at.  Poonam Yadav (53) and Ekta Bisht (50) are the closest contenders to Goswami’s India women’s record mark of 56 wickets.

Mithali Raj needs one half-century to break the record for most 50+ T20I scores in a calendar year.  Raj is currently level with Elyse Villani’s mark of five, set in 2014.

Smriti Mandhana, who has thirteen sixes in 2018, needs four more to break Sophie Devine’s record for most women’s T20I sixes in a calendar year (Devine hit sixteen in 2015).  Even if she does so, with the World T20 still to play, it’s possible that she, Devine, Lizelle Lee, and others could more than double that mark by year’s end.


Women’s T20I series
Sri Lanka vs India

FIXTURES
1st T20I, FTZ Sports Complex, Katunayake, 19th September
2nd T20I, Colts Cricket Club, Colombo, 21st September
3rd T20I, Colombo Cricket Club, 22nd September
4th T20I, Colombo Cricket Club, 24th September
5th T20I, FTZ Sports Complex, Katunayake, 25th September

SQUADS

Sri Lanka: Chamari Attapattu (c), Yasoda Mendis, Anushka Sanjeewani, Eshani Lokusuriyage, Hasini Perera, Dilani Manodara, Shashikala Siriwardena, Nilakshi De Silva, Imalka Mendis, Sripalee Weerakkodi, Sugandika Kumari, Rebeca Vandort, Udeshika Prabodhini, Ama Kanchana, Kavisha Dilhari

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Veda Krishnamurthy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Dayalan Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Anuja Patil, Taniya Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Mansi Joshi


Sri Lanka vs India – women’s T20I statistics
Match results
Highest total
Most runs
Batting average
Batting SR
High score
Most wickets
Bowling average
Economy rate
Best bowling
Highest partnerships

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