Sri Lanka succumbed to a 44-59 loss against 17th ranked Fiji in the teams’ Group E encounter at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool.
The Lankan ladies were coming into the game after a disappointing performance against Samoa last evening but fought hard in the first quarter of the game to take a one-goal lead into the break (11-10).
Captain Chathurangi Jayasooriya starred for Sri Lanka, with a number of intercepts. However, her good work was undone, with her opposite number at Goal Keeper Episaki Kahatoka doing the same for Fiji.
It was Kahatoka who spun things around for Fiji in the 2nd half, with the tall and athletic defender made sure Tharjini Sivalingam had to work hard to gain possession near the shooting post. As it was with the game against Samoa, the game was lost in the 2nd quarter, as Sri Lanka conceded an 8 goal deficit, scoring just 9 goals to Fiji’s 17.
Half time: Sri Lanka 20 – 27 Fiji
The 3rd quarter was much of the same as Sri Lanka’s lob passes to Sivalingam did not have enough height on them – making things easier for the Fiji defense. For their part, the Fiji girls were very physical on court, keeping in contact with the opposition with every move.
As Sri Lanka struggled to get the ball to Sivalingam, the scoring for Sri Lanka dried up, while on the other end of the court Unaisi Rauluni set the standard for shooting, with some brilliant long-range efforts. It turned out to be Sri Lanka’s worst quarter of the game, with Fiji scoring 20 goals to Sri Lanka’s 8.
Playing their 6th game in as many days, by the 4th quarter Sri Lanka were on their last legs but managed to put on an improved performance to take the quarter 16-11.
Full Time: Sri Lanka 44 – 59 Fiji
Sivalingam’s shooting when she received the ball close to the post was good, however it wasn’t a great performance overall from the tall shooter, who gave away plenty of possession by missing passes from her teammates. Hasitha Mendis had a relatively good game but neither she nor Dulangi Wannithilake were able to make their mark with shots on goal.
With the loss Sri Lanka now have no chance of bettering their best performance at a World Cup (they were placed 14th in 2011). They will now face Singapore, the only team they’ve beaten at the World Cup, in the 15/16th place playoff on Friday 19th July at 1.30pm (SL time).