The Sri Lanka Women’s team got their tour of Australia off to the perfect start, clinching a tight win against the Cricket Australia XI in a one-over eliminator, after the scores were tied at the end of the T20.
Batting first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka managed 133 off their allotted overs. Yasoda Mendis and Skipper Chamari Atapattu got the visitors off to a decent start, making 37 in the Powerplay before the former was dismissed by Heather Graham for a brisk 24. The intent shown by the Sri Lankans was refreshing, as they looked to score quickly instead just survive.
Atapattu, Harshitha Samarawickrama and Shashikala Siriwardene starred with the bat for the visitors, all three retiring out after handy knocks to give the other batters a go in the middle. 21-year-old Samarawickrama was particularly impressive, top-scoring with 34 in 30 deliveries. Late wickets halted Sri Lanka’s progress as the CA XI clawed back into the game with some tight bowling.
The hosts’ chase got off to a flier through their openers Tahlia McGrath and Josie Dooley but the introduction of Siriwardene saw Sri Lanka get the much-needed breakthrough as Dooley was sent back for 22. Siriwardene, Sri Lanka’s most experienced player, then picked up the key wicket of McGrath two overs later to put the brakes on the hosts. A double-wicket 14th over by left arm orthodox spinner Sugandika Kumari put Sri Lanka in control of the game, but 17-year-old Annabel Sutherland fought all the way to help the hosts tie the game off the last ball.
With the CA XI needing 7 to win off the last over, Atapattu took on the responsibility with the ball and managed to restrict them to 6.
Going into the super-over, Atapattu once again stepped up to the plate and managed to restrict the hosts to 8 while also picking up McGrath off the 2nd ball of the over.
Atapattu’s work in the game wasn’t done yet – after bowling the super-over, she then came out to bat and smacked Heather Graham, Australia’s most successful bowler on the day, for 4 off the very first ball. The left hander made 8 of the 9 required runs for Sri Lanka, to give the visitors a great start to what is expected to be a tough tour.
Sri Lanka 133/8 (20) Harshitha Samarawickrama 34 (30), Chamari Atapattu 28 (35), Yasoda Mendis 24 (20), Shashikala Siriwardene 20 (15), Heather Graham 3/17
9/0 (1) Chamari Atapattu 8*(4)
Cricket Australia XI Women 133/5 (20) Annabel Sutherland 48* (38), Tahlia McGrath 38 (30), Josie Dooley 22 (28), Shashikala Siriwardene 2/25, Sugandika Kumari 2/31, Chamari Atapattu 1/18
8/1 (1) Heather Graham 6*, Chamari Atapattu 1/8
Result – Match Tied. (Sri Lanka Women win the one-over eliminator)