Chamari Atapattu trumps Mithali Raj as Sri Lanka win last-over thriller

Cricket


Sri Lanka women 257 for 7 (Atapattu 115, Hasini 45, Goswami 2-39, Joshi 2-43) beat India women 253 for 5 (Raj 125*, Mandhana 51, Dilhari 1-37) by three wickets

Sri Lanka women held their nerve to pull off a thrilling three-wicket win with just one ball to spare in the third ODI against India women in Katunayake. Mithali Raj‘s unbeaten 125 had powered India to 253 for 5 at the FTZ Sports Complex, but Chamari Atapattu responded with 115, helping Sri Lanka secure their highest successful ODI chase.

It also broke a sequence of ten ODI defeats in a row against India for the home side, and earned them two points in the ICC Women’s Championship. The last time Sri Lanka had beaten India in an ODI was more than five years ago, in February 2013 during the Women’s World Cup that year.

Raj and Smriti Mandhana had put on 102 for the second wicket after India lost Jemimah Rodrigues for a duck in the first over of the game. After Mandhana fell for a 62-ball 51 in the 23rd over, Raj shepherded the innings and remained unbeaten. Although both Harmanpreet Kaur and Dayalan Hemalatha fell cheaply, Deepti Sharma provided the finishing kick with 38 off 44 balls, sharing a 92-run stand with Raj off 83 balls.

Raj had been circumspect during her initial phase and raised a half-century off 76 balls, but her second fifty came at a run a ball. Jhulan Goswami, who came in with two balls left, swung one for six to ensure India went past 250.

At the halfway stage, India would have been eyeing yet another win against Sri Lanka, but Atapattu and Hasini Perera put together a 101-run opening stand to lay the base for an exciting contest. Hasini was caught by Harmanpreet off legspinner Poonam Yadav in the 24th over, but Anushka Sanjeewani joined Atapattu in a 55-run stand that didn’t let India force their way through the brief opening.

Although wickets fell more regularly after Goswami castled Sanjeewani, Atapattu held one end up. She, eventually, fell in the 42nd over, and at that point, Sri Lanka still needed 61 more from 51 balls. But Nilakshi de Silva hit a six and a four, while Sripali Weerakkody stayed unbeaten on a run-a-ball 14. The 17-year-old Kavisha Dilhari, playing in only her second ODI, then kept her cool at the death, striking two fours in her unbeaten 12 off seven balls, including the winning hit straight past Deepti.

Dilhari had also been the best bowler for Sri Lanka, taking 1 for 37 in nine overs with her offbreaks.



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