Friday, May 24, 2024

Sri Lanka hold their nerve and clinch ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2024 qualification

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Photo Credit: ICC

  • Full scorecard available here

Sri Lanka have joined Scotland as the second qualifier for this year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup which will be played in Bangladesh from 3 to 20 October. The experienced Sri Lanka side was given a run for their money by hosts, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in defence of their 149-run total in the do-or-die clash in the second semi-final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Sri Lanka will now play Scotland in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier final at the same venue on Tuesday, 7 May.

Sri Lanka were put in to bat first at the toss and openers, Vishmi Gunaratne and captain, Chamari Athapaththu, delivered a sound start in the form of a 52-run partnership, brought up in 7.2 overs. Athapaththu (21) threatened to take the game away from the UAE with some big shots, including two consecutive sixes, but allowed the UAE to breathe a sigh of relief when she was dismissed by leg-spinner, Vaishnave Mahesh (2/33).

Gunaratne then added 44 for the second wicket with Harshitha Madavi (24), the partnership was broken by Mahesh, who struck again in the 16th over. Gunaratne, who went past Kathryn Bryce as the tournament’s leading run scorer during her 45-run innings (180 runs in five innings), was stumped off a wide ball by Esha Oza (2/27). The right-hander hit five fours in her 44-ball innings.

After Gunaratne’s departure, middle-order batters Hasini Perera (15), Kavisha Dilhari (17) and Nilakshi De Silva (18) hit eight boundaries between them in the death overs to take the team to a competitive, 149-run total.

Oza then went on to produce one of the standout innings of the tournament as the UAE gave Sri Lanka a real fight with the bat. She lost her opening partner, Theertha Satish without scoring, in the first over of the chase. Oza then led the second-wicket partnership of 66 runs with Khushi Sharma (22). She added 37 for the third wicket with Kavisha Egodage (16) to keep her team in contention.

Oza played some scintillating shots in her blazing 66 off 44, which included four big sixes as Sri Lanka’s bowlers searched for answers. The Islanders got the much-needed breakthrough when the right-hander was bowled out by Udeshika Prabodhani in the 16th over with the score at 108. During the course of her breathtaking innings, Oza went past Gunaratne as the tournament’s highest run scorer to date, 189 runs at 47.25.

The captain’s loss derailed the UAE’s chase, the lower-order batters failing to get the required boundaries with Sri Lanka’s bowlers and fielders tightening the screws. The UAE’s innings continued to stutter until the end of their allotted overs, where they managed 134/7.

Athapaththu was the best bowler of the night for Sri Lanka with two wickets for 28 in four overs. Sugandika Kumari, Inoshi Priyadharshani and Udeshika Prabodhani took a wicket each.

Scores in brief:

Second semi-final:

Sri Lanka beat UAE by 15 runs

Sri Lanka 149 for 6, 20 overs (Vishmi Gunaratne 45, Harshitha Madavi 24, Chamari Athapaththu 21; Esha Oza 2-27, Vaishnave Mahesh 2-33)

UAE 134 for 7, 20 overs (Esha Oza 66, Khushi Sharma 22; Chamari Athapaththu 2-28)

Player of the Match – Esha Oza

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