2020 ICC WOMEN’S T20 WORLD CUP
Sri Lanka came very near to upsetting Australia having the defending world champions on their knees on 3 for 10 in 3.2 overs chasing 123 for victory, but bad umpiring decisions by both umpires not ruling Lanning caught behind when on 15 proved very costly for the Sri Lankans as the host team scraped through to a 5-wicket triumph at the WACA, Perth. In reply to Sri Lanka’s 122 for 6 in 20 overs, Australia made 123 for 5 in 19.3 overs.
Besides the two umpires, Australia was also helped by poor fielding by the Sri Lankans themselves who dropped both Rachel Haynes, the vice captain who went on to top score with 60 off 47 (4×4, 2×6) and skipper Meg Lanning who made 41 off 44 (4×4). Their charmed lives helped them along to pull their side out of eminent defeat by posting 95 for the fourth wicket. The Sri Lankan bowler who had the Aussies on the skids was Udeshika Prabodhani who clean bowled opener A.J. Healy second ball for a duck and also bowled out A. Gardner for 2 off the fifth ball of the third over as Australia were reeling on 2 for 8 in 2.5 overs and when Shashikala Siriwardene had Mooney stumped by Sanjeewani for 6 the hosts were reduced to 3 for 10 and Australia was well on their way to defeat but for the two umpires stepping in to deny the Lankans the wickets of both Haynes and Lanning who were plumb out caught behind.
Sri Lankan captain Chamari Atapattu, who smashed an ODI century versus the Australians in Brisbane in October 2019, once again carried the fight with a rapid 38-ball 50 inclusive of 7 boundaries and 2 sixes despite losing her opening partner Hansini Perera for a duck after the Lankans opted to bat first on winning the toss. She was supported by Umesha Thimashini who made a run a ball 20 hitting 4 boundaries, Anushka Sanjeewani 25 off 31 with 2 boundaries and Nilakshi de Silva who made a run a ball 18 with 2 boundaries.
But their contributions were not adequate to give the side the much needed winning impetus following the departure of the dangerous looking Atapattu as the Australians took control by restricting the rest of the scorers.
Sri Lanka 122/6 (20 Overs) Run rate:6.1 (Atapattu 50, Sanjeewani 25, Thimashini 20, De Silva 18, Carey 2/18, Strano 2/23)
Australia 123/5 (19.3 Overs) Run rate: 6.3 (Haynes 60, Lanning n.o. 41, Prabodhani 2/17)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-