Sri Lanka: 122-6 (20 overs)
Australia: 123-5 (19.3 overs)
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Australia finally got their first points in this edition of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup as they overcame a spirited Sri Lankan side which was very competitive throughout the game. Rachael Haynes was the star of the game as her crucial partnership with skipper Meg Lanning saw Australia through.
Needing 123 runs to win, Australia got off to a horrible start. Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner were cleaned up by absolute beauties of swing deliveries from pacer Udeshika Prabodhani. Beth Mooney also lost her wicket and in no time, Australia were 10-3 and in deep trouble. But just then, the experienced duo of Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes got together and began to rebuild Australia's innings. The duo weathered the initial storm and then began to play their natural game. Haynes began to step out and hit the Sri Lankan bowlers and scored a brilliant 60 of 47 balls. Skipper Meg Lanning remained unbeaten on 41 as her side completed the chase in the final over with three balls to spare.
Earlier, Sri Lanka opted to bat and got off to a poor start as they lost Hasini Perera in the very first over. However, skipper Chamari Athapaththu began to take control of the Sri Lankan innings. She kept the scoreboard ticking and had an important partnership with Umesha Thimashini. Athapaththu scored 50 off just 38 balls but, as in the game versus New Zealand, her wicket changed the course of the innings. Sri Lanka were looking well set to reach a total in the region of 140 but could score only 122-6 in their 20 overs.
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Chamari Athapaththu's quickfire 50
The Sri Lankan batting was highly dependent on their skipper Chamari Athapaththu and she did not disappoint. After losing fellow opener Hasini Perera early, Athapaththu ensured that Sri Lanka did not lose momentum and played her natural strokes. She scored 50 off 38 balls which included seven fours and two sixes. Sri Lanka were on course to a decent score till the time Athapaththu was at the crease.
Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes get Australia out of deep trouble
Chasing just 123 to win, Australia needed a decent start and were in no pressure of the required run-rate. However, Udeshika Prabodhani displayed some outstanding swing bowling and Australia soon were 10-3.
Some sense of calm was needed and skipper Meg Lanning was then joined by the experienced Rachael Haynes. Both the batters absorbed all the initial pressure from the Sri Lankan bowlers and then began to put the bad balls away for boundaries. The running between the wickets was excellent between the two women and the duo kept the required run-rate in check. Once the run-rate was in excess of 9, Haynes began to take more risks and hit the Sri Lankan spinners straight down the ground. She scored a fantastic 60 off 47 balls which included four fours and two sixes. The duo added 95 runs for the fourth wicket.
Haynes' wicket made things interesting for few moments but Lanning was determined enough to win the game for her team and remained unbeaten on 41 at the end, with Australia winning the game by five wickets.
Haynes' innings was recognized as the potential difference between the two sides in such a close-fought game and thus, she was adjudged the Player of the Match.
Here were her thoughts after the game:
Was actually much easier batting. Couldn't watch the end bit after I got out. The message was to get a partnership going. Ball was sliding on nicely. Turn or swing wasn't a major factor once I got out there. Was just a matter of playing through the line of the ball.