Eshani Lokusooriya made a valuable half century as the Sri Lanka Women chased down the target of 212 set by the visiting Pakistan Women’s Cricket team at the NCC grounds earlier today, winning the game by 5 wickets.
Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to field, knowing a win against group toppers Pakistan would hold them in good stead to make it to the final of the Women’s World Cup Qualifiers. Sripali Weerakkody got Sri Lanka off to the perfect start, dismissing the tournament’s top run getter Ayesha Zafar with a peach of a delivery as Pakistan fell to 3/1 in the 2nd over of the game. The good news stopped there for the hosts as Nahida Khan and Javeria Khan then put on a huge 119 run partnership for the 2nd wicket. Both went on to notch up half centuries and Pakistan were cruising on 122 for the loss of just one wicket at the end of the 29th over.
Despite not picking up wickets, the Lankan bowlers were able to keep a lid on the scoring rate as Pakistan were unable to kick on from the platform provided by Nahida and Javeria. Sana Mir managed to spark some life into the Pakistani innings, making a cameo of 17 off 14 deliveries.
Inoka Ranaweera and Chamari Polgampola picked up 2 wickets a piece while the opening bowling pair of Udeshika Prabhodini and Weerakkody picked up 1 each.
Chasing a respectable target against a quality opposition was always going to be an uphill task for the hosts but they managed the chase perfectly, opting to keep wickets in tact in the early overs, instead of going for too many shots. Chamari Atapattu and Nipuni Hansika put on 75 for the 1st wicket at a reasonable rate as the pair made 35 and 37 respectively. Sri Lanka were sitting pretty at the end of the 15 over mark but three quick wickets, including that of both the openers, put them in trouble as the scores stood at 102/3 in 23.4 overs.
Prasadini Weerakkody and Eshani Lokusooriya came together and the experienced heads put together an ultimately match winning partnership of 88 runs for the 4th wicket. Wicketkeeper Weerakkody fell short of a much deserved half century but Lokusooriya ensured that Sri Lanka got home with ease, making an unbeaten 65 off 75 deliveries.
Nashra Sandhu and Ghulam Fatima picked up 2 wickets a piece but that did not prove sufficient as Sri Lanka got home with 5 wickets and 14 deliveries remaining.
Sri Lanka stand a good chance of making it to the final, now that they have beaten a tournament front runner Pakistan, but will have to produce a similar performance against South Africa on Friday if they are to strengthen their claim. The game against South Africa will be streamed live by the ICC.
Ire Women 144 v Bdesh Wmn 145/3 (39.1/50 ov, target 145) Bdesh Wmn won by 7 wickets (with 65 balls remaining)
India Women 205/8 v SA Women 156 (46.4/50 ov, target 206) India Women won by 49 runs