Sri Lanka stamped their authority further in the Asian Netball Championships, registering a dominant 71-48 win against Hong Kong in their final Group E encounter at the OCBC Arena, Singapore.
Sri Lanka saw off a late charge by Malaysia to seal a dramatic..
Coming into the game after wins over Singapore (74-61) and defending champions Malaysia (62 -59), Sri Lanka were favourites to get another win under their belts and further establish themselves at the top of the Cup category.
For their part, Hong Kong came into the match with heaps of confidence after beating the star-studded Singapore team yesterday.
Sri Lanka’s main line of attack during the tournament has been to get the ball to Goal Shooter Tharjini Sivalingam at every given opportunity, but Hong Kong countered this exceptionally in the 1st quarter, putting pressure on Sri Lanka’s midcourt.
Similar tactics were seen by both Singapore and Malaysia too, where they forced Sri Lanka’s midcourt players into errors, thereby creating turnovers. The early exchanges were tight but Sri Lanka soon pulled away to lead 18-13 at the end of the 1st quarter.
Sri Lanka’s defensive pairing of skipper Chathurangi Jayasooriya and Gayani Dissanayake once again came to the party with some impressive work, turning the ball over on numerous occasions to help Sri Lanka pull away.
It was in the 2nd quarter that Sri Lanka really came into their own, going on an 8-2 goal streak and dampen Hong Kong’s chances. After a 21-12 quarter, the Lankans went into halftime with a comfortable lead.
Halftime: Sri Lanka 39 – Hong Kong 25
The ladies from Hong Kong began to tire in the 3rd quarter, the intense midcourt press proving too energy sapping to sustain throughout the game. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, continued to chip away, with centre Gayanjali Amarawansa’s work-rate making up the foundation of their maneuvers.
It proved to be a slower quarter than the previous one as the scores read 54-35 with 15 minutes to go in the game.
The fourth quarter saw Sri Lanka extend their lead beyond 20 goals and subsequently give some much-needed game-time to the bench. Hong Kong just could not keep up and their frustration showed as the East Asians racked up the penalties.
Goal Attack Hasitha Mendis put in a couple long-range shots but it was more or less the Tharjini Sivalingam show once again as Sri Lanka closed out the game.
Full time: Sri Lanka 71 – 48 Hong Kong
Singapore and Malaysia are scheduled to face off shortly after which the semi-final match-ups will be finalized. As a result of topping Group E, Sri Lanka is scheduled to face the 4th best finisher in the group on Saturday.