Deepti helps India maintain perfect record in the Asia Cup

Jemimah Rodrigues (75*) and Deepti Sharma (64) put on an outstanding batting performance against UAE to help India maintain their undefeated record in the 2022 Women’s Asia Cup, setting up the winning score of 178/5. UAE was unable to recover after going from 5 for 3 in the first two overs and ultimately lost horribly by 104 runs.

While resting some of their across-formats regulars, India continued to promote and give its lower-order batters some critical time in the middle. Smriti Mandhana took over as captain in Harmanpreet Kaur’s absence and decided to have her team bat first. Richa Ghosh was given opening duties after Shafali Verma was benched for the game, however the decision backfired as the wicketkeeper-batter fell on the sixth ball of the game. In reality, India was reduced to 19/3 in only five overs, with D Hemalatha being run out for two and the in-form Sabbhineni Meghana returning to the pavilion for a cheap price.

However, Rodrigues and Deepti collaborated for a match-winning partnership of 129 en route to which the first scored her maiden fifty of the competition and the latter recorded her second 70-plus score since returning from injury. Rodrigues played the aggressor in her 45-ball unbeaten inning, smashing 11 boundaries for an exceptional strike rate of 166.67. During her 49-ball innings, Deepti, meanwhile, struck five fours and a few sixes before being bowled out on the final delivery of the 18th over. Pooja Vastrakar (13 off 5) and Kiran Navgire (10* off 4) made short cameos to assist India attain a commanding total that was hard to surpass.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s twin blows in the second over came after Theertha Satish was run out early, leaving UAE reeling at 5 for 3. Kavisha Egodage (30*) and Khushi Sharma (29) managed to put together a half-century partnership for the fourth wicket, although at a low strike rate. They were finally reduced to just 74, and Rodrigues earned her second season-long Player of the Match honour.