Photo Credit: ICC
Chamari Athapaththu believes Sri Lanka’s batting depth can help them topple the might of Australia after grabbing a historic second win on the spin at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Sri Lanka breezed past Bangladesh by seven wickets at Cape Town as Harshitha Samarawickrama and Nilakshi de Silva’s assured hundred partnership steered them to victory.
But that told far from the full story after accurate Bangladesh seamer Marufa Akter had reduced them to 26 for three inside the powerplay when in pursuit of 127 to win.
Athapaththu, Vishmi Gunaratne and Anushka Sanjeewani were all dismissed cheaply at Newlands but ahead of Thursday’s clash with defending champions Australia, the Sri Lankan skipper insists her side have all the tools to spring a shock.
The 33-year-old, whose team have now won back-to-back games at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup for the first time ever, said: “We’ve been working on our batting and have confidence now in our batting line-up because we don’t depend on one or two batters.
“We have six strong batters in our team. The new coach introduced new strategy and we have a lot of positive vibes in our team just trying to play our natural games.
“Australia is one of the best teams in the world and a world champion team. We need to improve our bowling a bit and continue our positive batting, just play our natural games.”
“I’m feeling good – I’m really happy about our team performance, Harshitha batting really well and Nilakshi as a finisher.
“It was a really good team performance.
“I just play my natural game. I got out early, Vishmi got out early, but we do not depend on one or two batters in this tournament.”
Bangladesh posted a chaseable-looking total of 126 for eight as Oshadi Ranasinghe starred with the ball for Sri Lanka.
The wily spinner took three for 23 off her economical four overs as Sobhana Mostary (29) and Nigar Sultana (28) top-scored for Bangladesh.
Marufa then wreaked havoc among the Sri Lankan top order as her remarkable spell saw her dismiss Athapaththu, Gunaratne and Sanjeewani without conceding a single run.
But that brought Samarawickrama and De Silva together and their match-winning hundred partnership fired Sri Lanka to two wins in the space of just 72 hours – after also beating hosts South Africa in the Friday night curtain-raiser – at Newlands.
Bangladesh captain Nigar, whose side next face Australia on Tuesday, said: “I think we had great batting during the powerplay, but after six overs we couldn’t manage any boundaries which cost us.
“We just wanted to continue that [powerplay] on the batting side into the next match.
“We need to work on our boundary hitting options. We also lost 15-20 runs in the last five overs, and we lost too many wickets.
“Marufa bowled really well today. She just came from the U19 World Cup and showed how valuable she is to the side.
“It was a very good surface. We did very well in the batting side [in the powerplay] but we ended 15-20 runs short.
“If we could have made at least 140+, it could be different.
“We have Australia to think about now in a few days and are looking forward to that.”