SYLHET: Opener Sabbhineni Meghana batted with authority to record her maiden T20I half-century as India defeated Malaysia by 30 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-curtailed Asia Cup match here on Monday.
Replacing vice-captain Smriti Mandhana at the top, Meghana hit 69 off 53 deliveries (11 fours, 1 six) to help India post 181 for four off its stipulated 20 overs. In reply, Malaysia was tottering at 16 for two in 5.2 overs as rain stopped play, far behind the 46-run mark which was the D/L par score when the match was called off.
With the win, India moved to the second spot on the points table – with four points – behind Pakistan (4 points). Meghana took the Malaysian bowling attack to the sword as she brought up her career-best score in the format after India was asked to bat. At the end of the powerplay overs, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side stood at 47 without loss.
Meghana was dropped on 14 by skipper Winifred Duraisingam in the third over and the right-hander made the Malaysians pay for the error as she raced to fifty with a boundary. Shafali Verma, who is struggling for form, also pitched in, but the teenager looked scratchy for the most part of her 46-run knock (39 balls, 1 four, 3 sixes).
Poor fielding only added to Malaysia’s woes, with India looking on course for a 200-plus score. However, Winifred (2/36) got the big wicket of Meghana to end the 116-run first-wicket partnership. The opening batter looked to drive, only to chip the ball straight into the hands of the extra cover fielder, sending the Malaysia team into frenzy.
Richa Ghosh was elevated to the No.3 spot and the young wicketkeeper played a fluent 33-run innings (19 balls, 5 fours, 1 six), finding the gaps beautifully.
BRIEF SCORES: India Women 181/4 in 20 overs (S Meghana 69, Shafali 46) bt Malaysia Women 16/2 in 5.2 overs. India won by 30 runs via D/L method