Monday, May 27, 2024

Sensational Athapaththu century sets up Sri Lanka’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier final victory

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Photo Credit: ICC

  • Full scorecard of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier final available here
  • Sri Lanka join Australia, India, New Zealand and Pakistan in Group A of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2024, Scotland to feature in Group B along with hosts Bangladesh, England, South Africa and the West Indies

Sri Lanka captain, Chamari Athapaththu, scored a scintillating century, the second of her T20I career, to spearhead her side’s comprehensive, 68-run victory over Scotland in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier final at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday night.

Athapaththu’s dazzling 102 came from just 63 deliveries including 13 boundaries and four sixes. Her exceptional performance was accompanied by a brilliant bowling display by Sri Lanka’s bowlers, as their opponents failed to match to their might in the final.

Scotland suffered a big blow on the eve of the match, when their in-form captain, Kathryn Bryce was ruled out of the final due to a low-grade abductor muscle strain. Bryce was later named the Player of the Tournament for her excellent all-round turn-out of 177 runs and nine wickets.

Scotland’s stand-in captain, Sarah Bryce, won the toss and elected to field first. They got the breakthrough in the third over of the innings when the prolific 18-year-old opener, Vishmi Gunaratne, was dismissed for nine runs. Katherine Fraser then accounted for Harshita Madavi (8) in the sixth over, leaving Sri Lanka in a spot of bother at 33/2. Kavisha Dilhari (15) added 22 for the third wicket with Athapaththu, before being undone by leg-spinner Abtaha Maqsood.

The match then turned on its head thanks to the brilliance of Athapaththu, who found an able ally in Nilakshi De Silva (26 not out, 26 balls, one four, one six). She helped steady the ship at one end as her skipper slowly found her touch before unleashing her typically aggressive batting style.

Athapaththu reached her half-century in 40 balls, landing the milestone with a big six over mid-wicket off Fraser.

After reaching putting her 50 behind her, Athapaththu cut loose and played a series of sensational shots that left Scotland’s bowlers and fielders wilting in her wake. The big-hitter needed just 20 more balls to reach her century (13 fours, four sixes). She was eventually dismissed by Rachel Slater for an outstanding 102, her wicket bringing an end to an excellent, 106-run, fourth-wicket stand.

Athapaththu’s innings was the only century of the tournament and by the time she finished, the seasoned campaigner had left behind Gunaratne as the tournament’s top run-scorer – 226 runs in six innings at 45.20.

Sri Lanka posted a daunting 169/5 at the end of their allotted overs, the second highest team total of the tournament.

Scotland were never in the game with the bat after losing openers Sasika Horley (10) and Megan McColl (6) in the space of six balls. In 5.5 over mark, they had lost four batters as Sarah Bryce (0) and Darcey Carter (3) also joined the openers in the dugout.

A 40-run partnership between Priyanaz Chatterji (30 not out, 34 balls, four fours, one six) and Lorna Jack (12) provided some respectability to the Scotland chase, however, the target was well out of their reach by then as they finished their 20-over quota at 101/7.

This win sees Sri Lanka join Australia, India, New Zealand and Pakistan in Group A of the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup 2024 as Qualifier 1. Scotland will feature in Group B alongside hosts Bangladesh, England, South Africa and the West Indies as Qualifier 2.

Scores in brief:

Final:

Sri Lanka beat UAE by 68 runs

Sri Lanka 169 for 5, 20 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 102, Nilakshi De Silva 26 not out; Rachel Slater 2-35)

Scotland 101 for 7, 20 overs (Priyanaz Chatterji 30, Rachel Slater 15 not out; Udeshika Prabodhani 3-13)

Player of the Match – Chamari Athapaththu

Player of the Tournament – Kathryn Bryce

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