Sri Lanka Women in historic 2-1 ODI series win over New Zealand Women
By Srian Obeyesekere
Skipper Chamari Athapaththu’s extraordinary 80-ball 140 in Sri Lanka Women’s historic 2-1 ODI series win over New Zealand by pocketing the decisive third game by 8 wickets off 26.5 of the DRS revised 29 overs at the Galle International Cricket Stadium on Monday, did bring in a bagful of goodies for the host team.
Besides the landmark first ever bilateral series win over New Zealand Women, the 33-year old Athapaththu went on to raise her stocks in the international arena as the joint fourth in the ICC Women’s ODI standings for the most ODI hundreds in stamping her name as arguably the most explosive women’s batter in world cricket.
Athapaththu scripted a typically characteristically belligerent innings lit up with 9 over the top and 13 t6 the ropes that enveloped the game in an exemplary lead from the front role shouldering responsibility with Sri Lanka Women racing against time to 196 for 2 having taken strike with the side on 6 for 2. It was her second successive century against the Kiwis in the series and marked her eighth ODI ton from 95 games with an unbeaten highest of 178. She has crossed 3000 runs at that level.
She ranks joint fourth alongside Claire Taylor of England at that level with Meg Lanning of Australia holding the top spot with 15 centuries.
New Zealand Women, batting first after winning the toss, made 127 for 2 off 31 overs in the rain marred game. The Lankan skipper found solid support from Nilakshi de Silva whose unbeaten 48 off 68 contained 5 boundaries. New Zealand Women’s innings revolved around a 87-ball 63 by Zuzie Bates inclusive of 3 boundaries.
New Zealand Women 127/2 (31 Overs) (Suzie Bates n.o. 63, Sophie Devine n.o. 38, Amelia Kerr 19, Oshadi Ranasinghe 1/22)
Sri Lanka Women 196/2 (26.5 Overs) (Chamari Athapathu n.o. 140, Nilakshi de Silva n.o. 48, Lea Tahuhu 1/29, Sophie Devine 1/32)