Athapaththu, spinners assist Sri Lanka pull off an upset in T20 World Cup opener

Sri Lanka 129 for 4 (Athapaththu 68, Gunaratne 35, Kapp 1-15) beat South Africa 126 for 9 (Luus 28, Ranaweera 3-18, Ranasinghe 2-20, Sugandika 2-28) by three runs

South Africa’s extremely anticipated dwelling Women’s T20 World Cup received underway in essentially the most dramatic vogue with Sri Lanka securing a giant upset towards the hosts, profitable by three runs earlier than a report crowd in Cape Town.

This match had all of it. An exhilarating contest arrange by Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu’s half-century earlier than her fellow previous guard of Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandika Kumari and Oshadi Ranasinghe stored their cool to run by South Africa’s line-up and safe a memorable victory in entrance of 8402 spectators, essentially the most for a ladies’s cricket match in South Africa.
Amid a pleasant get together environment with the grass banks properly full of dancing spectators, the house followers grimaced within the tight moments, and screamed and fist-pumped within the good instances, using every wave with their workforce. And there have been loads of ebbs and flows too. South Africa’s quicks Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail contained Athapaththu and her opening accomplice Harshitha Samarawickrama early, earlier than Athapaththu’s knock of 68 off 50 balls, during which she peeled off boundaries in clutches and staged an 86-run stand for the second wicket with 17-year-old Vishmi Gunaratne. Then Kapp took the important thing wicket of Athapaththu to maintain South Africa’s goal to an achievable 130. But Sri Lanka by no means gave up and reaped their reward with Ranaweera eradicating Laura Wolvaardt, Kapp and captain Sune Luus and, finally, dashing the hopes of the house aspect.

Sri Lanka hold their cool

Tazmin Brits by no means actually received going after being struck on the helmet trying a pull shot off Achini Kulasooriya and fell slicing Ranasinghe to additional cowl. Kapp scored solely 12 earlier than she holed out to mid-on and when Ranaweera struck once more to take away Wolvaardt with 77 wanted off 10.2 overs, South Africa have been nonetheless forward of Sri Lanka on the identical level however certainly not protected.

However, with Luus and an in-form Chloe Tryon on the crease, there appeared no motive to panic. But then Tryon and Anneke Bosch fell within the house of three balls, and Luus, who was saved by a wayward throw after a horrible mix-up with Sinalo Jafta, was stumped as Ranaweera claimed her third and put her aspect inside attain of victory. Needing 13 off the final over, Ismail was run out and Sugandika yielded simply two runs off the subsequent three balls, which means that Nonkululeko Mlaba’s 4 off the final was not sufficient.

Athapaththu to the rescue (once more)

Athapaththu lifted Sri Lanka after a gradual begin and, whereas it was a script we had learn earlier than – she has now scored all three of Sri Lanka’s fifties at Women’s T20 World Cups and 7 of their high eight scores on the event – it was important. By the tip of the powerplay, they’d simply 28 runs on the board and on the midway level of the innings have been 45 for 1.

The match was nearly 4 overs previous earlier than Sri Lanka discovered the boundary, through Athapaththu’s slash by additional cowl off Kapp. She reeled off two extra back-to-back with a slog sweep after which a pull as Mlaba bowled first too full, then too quick. Nadine de Klerk entered the assault within the seventh over with quick impact although as Samarawickrama spooned the ball straight to quick midwicket.

Athapaththu knew she needed to get shifting and she or he unleashed three fours in a row off de Klerk, twice by additional cowl earlier than pulling a brief ball over deep sq. leg. Gunaratne, Sri Lanka’s Under-19 captain, then piled on three extra in a row, dispatching Ismail by deep midwicket, slicing previous deep third and clearing wicketkeeper Jafta’s head.

Gunaratne added 35 off 34 balls earlier than a direct hit from Brits ended her stand with Athapaththu after she had nudged Kapp in the direction of quick cowl for a fast single. But then Kapp made the main breakthrough, as Athapaththu picked out de Klerk at deep-backward sq. leg.

After a tearful begin to the match when spouse Dane van Niekerk, having been controversially not noted of the squad for failing a 2km working take a look at, helped her mark out her run-up earlier than heading to the commentary field, Kapp ended the night as South Africa’s finest bowler, her 4 overs costing simply 15 runs after she and Ismail had smothered Sri Lanka early. Ismail chimed in on the finish with the wicket of Nilakshi de Silva and let loose a roar. But it might flip to extra tears, this time for Luus, who has taken over the captaincy from van Niekerk and whose job of taking her aspect to the knockout stage simply turned infinitely more durable.

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