Sri Lanka finished the 2nd round of the Asian Netball Championships unbeaten as they saw off a spirited Hong Kong side 62-51 at the OCBC Arena in Singapore earlier today.
With two wins under their belts in Group E, Sri Lanka had the opportunity to grab top seed going into the semis and they did so with ease in the end against a Hong Kong side that put up a stiff challenge against the defending champs.
Sri Lanka once again started off strongly, playing their best seven, with youngsters Malmi Hettiarachchi and Bhashini de Silva slotting in at C and WD respectively, alongside the experienced Tharjini Sivalingam (GS), Dulangi Wannithilake (GA), Gayanjali Amarawansa (WA), Gayani Dissanayake (GD) and Chathurangi Jayasooriya (GK).
Team Sri Lanka took a 20-09 lead in the first quarter and capped off the 1st half with a 17-13 run in the 2nd quarter, setting the tone for a blowout. However, as we have seen all tournament, Sri Lanka coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe has opted to give her bench some game time during the 2nd half and she did so here as well, giving Hong Kong a little breathing space.
The women in red came back strong in the 3rd quarter, taking it 16-11 but there was no catching up with Sri Lanka, who outscored them 14-13 in the final quarter to seal the win and their place at the top of the Group E table.
Standings at the end of Group Stage
The 4 teams will now move to the semi-finals, where Sri Lanka will face Hong Kong once again on the 10th of September at 12.30pm SL time. Singapore saw off Malaysia today, but will face their South East Asian counterparts once again in the 2nd semi-final on the 10th.
The two teams who reach the final will book their tickets to the Netball World Cup, set to be held in Cape Town next year.