If only consolation victories had stories written about them, today’s win by the Lankan team over the Indians would be listed at the top of those. The Lankan skipper Chamari Atapattu (115) led from front in what turned out to be a record breaking chase over the opponents who had got better of the home team since the 2013 Women’s World Cup.
Having won the toss, the Sri-Lankans decided to chase in the dead rubber as India were already leading 2-0 in the 3 match ODI series. Being set a target of 254 runs, the Lankans got off to a dream start with the opening pair of Hansini Perera and Atapattu putting 101 runs in just 23.1 overs. Perera made a fighting 45 runs when she was caught off Poonam Yadav’s bowling. She ensured that the Lankans remain in the chase when Atapattu was struggling to score runs against the Indian seamers Jhulan and Mansi Joshi. However, once Atapattu found her rhythm, there was no stopping her as she breezed to her 4th ODI century. There was no stopping her as she anchored the chase with 115 runs of just 133 balls which included 13 boundaries and 4 sixes.
Unlike the previous matches in the series, she got support from her other team members during the chase. She along with Anushka Sanjeewani put on 55 runs for the second wicket. The chase seemed to be falling off track when Atapattu got out to Hemalatha in the 42nd over with another 61 runs remaining. However, some useful contributions by the Sri Lankan middle and lower order, Nilakshi De Silva (15 off 9), Sripali Weerakody (14* off 14) and Kavisha Dilhari (12* off 7) ensured that the home team got through the chase with 1 ball to spare.
Earlier in the day, after put in to bat, the Lankans got off to an ideal start when Jemimah Rodrigues was adjudged LBW of the second ball of the innings for a duck. However, the in form pair of Mandhana and Mithali Raj who led from front put 102 runs for the second wicket. Mandhana scored yet another half century and was dismissed by the Lankan skipper for useful 51 runs of just 62 deliveries. Mithali Raj played the anchors role in the innings and scored her 7th ODI ton to remain unbeaten on 125 runs of 143 deliveries. She smoked 14 fours in her innings and also a six. She was supported by Deepti Sharma in the middle overs where the pair added 92 runs for the 5th wicket in just 14 overs. The Indians managed to score 89 runs in their last 11 overs and put on a fighting total of 253 runs on the board.
However, the total did not prove to be a match winning one as Sri Lanka got their record setting highest chase in ODIs and also secured crucial championship points. Had only the home team been able to hold their nerves in the second ODI which they lost just 7 runs, they could have won the series and staged a huge upset over the strong Indian side.
This win will surely get their spirits high as the 5 match T20I series will get underway from the 19th of September. The Indian team will surely be worried and will have to devise a strategy to contain the Lankan captain and try and win the T20 series as well. The Lankans can surely feel proud of the way they ended the series and take this confidence in the T20s and make it an exciting series for the cricket fans around the globe.
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