Home Cricket National Cricket Athapaththu, Ranaweera star in thrilling upset over South Africa

Athapaththu, Ranaweera star in thrilling upset over South Africa

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 10: Oshadi Ranasinghe of Sri Lanka celebrates the wicket of Tazmin Brits of South Africa during the ICC Women's T20 World Cup group A match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Newlands Stadium on February 10, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Chamari Athapaththu struck 68 to take Sri Lanka to 129 before the spinners, led by Inoka Ranaweera, spun a web around the Protea batters as the hosts fell short by 3 runs to give Sri Lanka a famous win at the Wanderers in Cape Town.

A game befitting a tournament opener, especially if you are a Sri Lankan fan, saw the visitors upend South Africa’s hopes of starting the tournament off with a bang. The game seemed to have it all, maidens, power-hitting, run-outs, misfields and somehow Sri Lanka inexplicably came out on top.

The hosts started perfectly, conceding just 4 runs off the 1st 3 overs and 28 off the powerplay. Harshitha Samarawickrama, Sri Lanka’s most in-form batter coming into the tournament looked like she had her feet stuck in quicksand, struggling to get bat on ball as the frustration built for the visitors.

Her dismissal came almost as a release as Athapaththu looked to get going at the other end, her 1stboundary coming through extra cover, a sign of things to come in her 1st half century in 12 innings.

Read – Can Sri Lanka cause a few upsets in Group A?

Despite slow going early in her innings, Athapaththu kept finding the boundaries regularly and looked to take most of the strike with 17-year-old Vishmi Gunaratne at the other end. The youngster, however, showed no signs of nerves, taking a couple of overs to get her eye in before looking to take on the bowlers.

From 28/1 in 6.4 overs, Athapaththu and Gunaratne put together 86 off the next 10.2 overs, putting Sri Lanka on course for a 140+ score. However, Marizanne Kapp, who had been the pick of the bowlers early in the innings returned to close things out for the hosts, dismissing Athapaththu, thereby squashing any Sri Lankan hopes of crossing the 140-run mark.

Sri Lanka ended with 129, 10-15 runs short of what both Captains would have considered a good total on the surface.

South Africa’s chase was chaotic, with the momentum swinging back and forth as they struggled to put any meaningful partnerships together. Tazmin Britts took a blow to the head off the 1st delivery she faced, but passed to the concussion test and batted on to put on 29 for the 1st wicket alongside Laura Wolvaardt.

Kapp and Wolvaart didn’t last much longer but you could say that the turning point of the game came in the 13th over of the chase when Sugandika Kumari claimed the wickets of both Chloe Tryon and Anneke Bosch as South Africa slumped to 5/72.

As the game went down to the wire, Sri Lanka’s fielding began to look shaky, threatening to undo the good work done with the ball. Nilakshi de Silva misjudged a catch from Sune Luus which ended up going for six before Sri Lanka conceded overthrows and missed an opportunity to run Luus out on one end and Sinalo Jafta at the other.

Read More – Gunaratne returns as Sri Lanka name squad for T20 World Cup

The hosts needed 33 off the last 3 and when Jafta snuck 13 off the 18th over by Kavisha Dilhari, they looked like they would find a way to come away with a win. However, Athapaththu had saved her best bowler Ranaweera for the end and the left-arm spinner got the wicket of Luus and forced the run-out of Jafta while conceding 9 runs to give Sri Lanka the edge going into the final over.

Sugandika Kumari went for a boundary off her last delivery but it wasn’t enough for the Proteas, who fell 3 runs short of the target.

Athapaththu was named player of the match, however, Ranaweera wasn’t too far behind, having captured the prized wickets of Kapp, Wolvaardt and Luus.


South Africa Women
126/9 (20)

Sri Lanka Women
129/4 (20)

Batsmen R B 4s 6s SR
Harshitha Samarawickrama c Tazmin Brits b Nadine de Klerk 8 20 1 0 40.00
Chamari Athapaththu c & b 68 50 12 0 136.00
Vishmi Gunaratne run out () 35 34 4 0 102.94
Anushka Sanjeewani not out 5 6 0 0 83.33
Nilakshika Silva b 4 5 0 0 80.00
Ama Kanchana not out 4 5 0 0 80.00

Extras 5 (b 2 , lb 0 , nb 0, w 3, pen 0)
Total 129/4 (20 Overs, RR: 6.45)
Bowling O M R W Econ
Shabnim Ismail 4 1 22 1 5.50
Marizanne Kapp 4 0 15 1 3.75
Ayabonga Khaka 4 0 21 0 5.25
Nonkululeko Mlaba 4 0 31 0 7.75
Nadine de Klerk 4 0 38 1 9.50

Batsmen R B 4s 6s SR
Laura Wolvaardt c Oshadi Ranasinghe b Inoka Ranaweera 18 23 1 0 78.26
Tazmin Brits c Ama Kanchana b Oshadi Ranasinghe 12 18 2 0 66.67
Marizanne Kapp c Nilakshika Silva b Inoka Ranaweera 11 12 1 0 91.67
Sune Luus st Anushka Sanjeewani b Inoka Ranaweera 28 27 0 1 103.70
Chloe Tryon c Nilakshika Silva b Sugandika Kumari 10 10 2 0 100.00
Anneke Bosch b Sugandika Kumari 0 2 0 0 0.00
Nadine de Klerk c Nilakshika Silva b Oshadi Ranasinghe 7 11 0 0 63.64
Sinalo Jafta run out (Oshadi Ranasinghe) 15 9 2 0 166.67
Shabnim Ismail run out (Achini Kulasuriya) 7 4 1 0 175.00
Ayabonga Khaka not out 1 2 1 0 50.00
Nonkululeko Mlaba not out 5 3 0 0 166.67

Extras 12 (b 0 , lb 1 , nb 1, w 10, pen 0)
Total 126/9 (20 Overs, RR: 6.3)
Bowling O M R W Econ
Achini Kulasuriya 3 0 17 0 5.67
Ama Kanchana 2 0 16 0 8.00
Sugandika Kumari 4 0 28 2 7.00
Oshadi Ranasinghe 4 0 20 2 5.00
Inoka Ranaweera 4 0 18 3 4.50
Kavisha Dilhari 3 0 26 0 8.67