Chamari Athapaththu and Harshitha Samarawickrama’s fifty led Sri Lanka to a historic T20I series win against South Africa

Sugandhika Kumari, skipper Chamari Athapaththu, and Harshitha Samarawickrama scripted a historic T20I series triumph for Sri Lanka over South Africa.

Chamari Athapaththu and Harshitha Samarawickrama's fifty led Sri Lanka to a historic T20I series win against South Africa
Chamari Athapaththu and Harshitha Samarawickrama’s fifty led Sri Lanka to a historic T20I series win against South Africa

The Sri Lankan women’s team led by skipper Chamari Athapaththu clinched a low-scoring thriller in the 2nd T20I by 7 wickets and 7 balls to spare to level the three-match T20I series. The 23-year-old all-rounder Kavisha Dilhari was the star of the show as she was awarded the Player of the Match for guiding Sri Lanka over the line (45 off 28 balls) with the bat and returning with match figures (3-0-22-1) with the ball.

The Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Athapaththu won the toss and opted to field first in the decider at the Buffalo Park, East London. After being inserted to bat first, the South African openers Tazmin Brits and skipper Laura Wolvaardt got off to a good start, scoring 9 runs an over before Sugandika Kumari picked up the wicket of Tazmin Brits to provide the first breakthrough for Sri Lanka. The home side, South Africa failed to capitalise on the momentum as they lost a couple of wickets in quick succession.

Anneke Bosch joined skipper Laura Wolvaardt at the crease with South Africa at 65/3 in the 9th over of the innings and the duo stitched a crucial 32-run partnership for the 4th wicket before Inoshi Priyadharshani Fernando picked up the wicket of Anneke Bosch to provide the 4th breakthrough for her side. Nadine de Klerk joined skipper Laura Wolvaardt at the crease and the duo stitched another crucial 54-run partnership for the 5th wicket before Sugandika Kumari came back and struck twice in the 20th over, including the wicket of the South African skipper Laura Wolvaardt in the 20th over of the innings to keep the home side under 170-run mark in their quota of overs (155/6).

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Skipper Laura Wolvaardt (56 off 47 balls), Nadine de Klerk (44 off 25 balls), and Anneke Bosch (27 off 21 balls) were the top performers with the bat for South Africa. Sugandika Kumari (4-0-24-3), Inoshi Priyadharshani Fernando (4-0-18-1), and Kavisha Dilhari (4-0-22-1) were the top performers with the ball for Sri Lanka. Chasing a target of 156, Sri Lanka got off to a poor start, losing their opener Vishmi Gunaratne in the 2nd over of the run chase. Nonkululeko Mlaba provided the first breakthrough for South Africa.

Harshitha Samarawickrama joined skipper Chamari Athapaththu at the crease and the duo stitched a massive 97-run partnership for the 2nd wicket to bring the visitors in a solid position in the run chase. Marizanne Kapp picked up the big wicket of the opposition skipper Chamari Athapaththu to provide the 2nd breakthrough for her side. Kavisha Dilhari soon followed her back to the pavilion to provide the 3rd breakthrough for South Africa. Hasini Perera joined Harshitha Samarawickrama at the crease and the duo stitched a crucial 22-run partnership for the 4th wicket before Tumi Sekhukhune picked up the wicket of Hasini Perera to provide the 4th breakthrough for her side.

Nilakshika Silva joined Harshitha Samarawickrama at the crease and the duo took their side level to the South African total with a 19-run partnership for the 5th wicket before Nadine de Klerk fought back to land a double blow on successive deliveries in the penultimate over of the run chase, took the game to the last over. Harshitha Samarawickrama hit the winning runs to Sri Lanka to a historic, series-clinching victory over South Africa by four wickets and five balls to spare.

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Skipper Chamari Athapaththu (73 off 46 balls), Harshitha Samarawickrama (54* off 43 balls), and Nilakshika Silva (12 off 6 balls) were the top performers with the bat for Sri Lanka. Nadine de Klerk (4-0-25-2) and Marizanne Kapp (4-0-24-1) were the top performers with the ball for South Africa. The Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Athapaththu was awarded the Player of the Match for her brilliant performance (73 off 46 balls) with the bat. She led from the front with the bat playing a crucial role in helping Sri Lanka seal their first-ever T20I series victory (home, and away) against South Africa. South African skipper Laura Wolvaardt was awarded the Player of the Series as she scored 158 runs in 2 matches.

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