Mithali Raj batting for India during their match against neighbours Sri Lanka ©ICC

India started their International Cricket Council (ICC) 2017 Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign with a 114 run victory over Sri Lanka in Colombo today.

Batting first, India scored 259-4 in their 50 overs at the tournament being hosted by their opponents in Group A.

Devika Vaidya scored 89 at number three while half centuries were also achieved by captain Mithali Raj, 70, and opener Deepti Sharma, 54.

Sri Lanka struggled in response as after a first wicket stand of 42, they were tied down by some tight bowling from the Indian women limited them to 145-8 in their 50 overs.

Hasini Perera was the host’s top scorer with 34 while Chamara Athapaththu hit 30.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad was the pick of India’s bowlers as she finished with figures of two for 19 while team-mate Ekta Bisht picked up two wickets for 27 runs.

“It’s always good to start with a win,” said Raj.

“We’d started slowly in the match, but Devika and Deepti put up a useful partnership to help increase the run rate.

“It was a good pitch to bat on and we enjoyed batting out there.”

Kim Garth was the star performer for Ireland in their 119 run victory over Zimbabwe ©ICC
Kim Garth was the star performer for Ireland in their 119 run victory over Zimbabwe ©ICC

The other game in Group A saw Ireland defeat Zimbabwe by 119 runs.

Kim Garth was the highest scorer for the Irish as she hit 63 in their innings of 237-6.

She followed this up by claiming three wickets for 24 runs as the Africans only managed to score 118 in their reply.

In Group B, South Africa made a successful start to qualification as they beat Pakistan by 63 runs in Colombo.

Chloe Tryon topped scored with 79 as South Africa ended on 258-9 before limiting Pakistan to 195-6.

Group B’s other match saw Bangladesh win by 118 runs over Papua New Guinea.

Half centuries from Harmin Akhter and Fargana Hoque helped Bangladesh to 215-6 before they skittled their opponents all out for 97.

The qualification tournament is set to continue until February 21.

This year’s World Cup is being held in England between June 24 and July 23.

Alongside the hosts, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies have already qualified.