If Sri Lanka’s 9-wicket triumph starring its longest serving player Shashikala Siriwardene’s Player of the Match 4 for 16 was the much looked to consolation win the team sought in a lost cause, it was as much the perfect bringing the curtain down on by far her country’s staunchest servant to the game in a 17-year long career that took off at age 18.
As the former Sri Lanka captain would confide in her post match comments indeed it was the nostalgic and sentimental moment when you pad up and un pad for the last time knowing you are walking away from what has been literally your life.
It was more the poignant she confessed knowing that she had come on the blocks and raised her hands to represent her country at a juncture seniors before her had waned away having played the game just for their passion when Sri Lanka was not yet in the official ICC membership fold as an international country in women’s cricket.
Thus, looking back, stepping in as the first official captain of her country was uniquely special and walking away from it all sentimentally tearful. “But then I had steeled myself to face this moment of not let it put me down and that I had a job to do to set up a much yearned win for my country and to prove that we are among the top four countries in the game,” was how Shashikala, now 35, described her facing the final hurdle of her career when Sri Lanka took on Bangladesh at the Junction Oval, Melbourne on Monday scripting to winning ways.
Her 4-wicket haul the best figures in the world cup so far as it is bamboozled Bangladesh restricting them to 91 for 8 in 20 overs; a chase that was a cake walk for the Sri Lankans with openers Hasini Perera and skipper A.C. Jayangani alias Chamari Atapattu barnstorming their way. Perera remained unbeaten on 39 off 53 balls inclusive of 5 boundaries while Atapattu smashed the ball around characteristic pinch hitting style for a 22-ball 30 showcased with 2 sixes and 2 boundaries. She fell with the total on 51 off 8.5 overs from where M.A.A. Sanjeewani added the final touches with Hasini Perera with the former’s contribution being 16 off 18 hitting 2 boundaries.
Bangladesh Women 91/8 (20 Overs) Run rate: 4.55 (Nigar Sultana 39, Sanjida Islam 13, Fargana Hoque 13, H.A.S.D. Siriwardene 4/16, W.G.A.K.K. Kulasuriya 2/19)
Sri Lanka Women 92/1 (15.3 Overs) Run rate: 5.93 (G.W.H.M. Perera n.o. 39, A.C. Jayangani 30, M.A.A. Sanjeewani n.o. 16)
By Srian Obeyesekere