Picture this: One to get, one to go, one wicket in hand. Add to that the burden of history. The Sri Lanka women’s team had never beaten their English counterparts in any form of the game. What followed was, let’s say, historic!
Dilani Manodara hit a six off the last ball to hand Sri Lanka a one-wicket win at the Brabourne Stadium on Friday and script one of biggest upsets in the ICC Women’s World Cup. It was No 7 batswoman Eshani Kaushalya who took control of the sinking ship when their middle-order started to crumble. From a healthy 103/1, the Islanders were soon reduced 157/5 with over 80 to get in 12 overs.
England, who had managed to put up 238/8 after a poor start, lost the plot once Kaushalya walked into the middle. The 28-year-old knew very well what was at stake and took the game away from England with a blistering 56 off just 41 balls. Kaushalya took her time to settle in but eventually took charge. She was, however, dropped twice, first by Jenny Gunn in the 42nd over and then in the last over by bowler Georgia Elwiss.
Sri Lanka also had openers Chamari Atapattu (62) and Yasoda Mendis (46) to thank. Their century partnership was Sri Lanka’s highest for the first wicket in the competition and also the team’s highest ever against England.
Earlier in the day, England’s top-order failed to fire. At one point, even 150 looked a distant dream. But Gunn and Amy Jones took them past the 200-run mark.
Brief Scores: England 238/8 in 50 overs ( J Gunn 52, A Jones 41; E Kaushalya 2/49, C Seneviratna 2/35) lost to Sri Lanka 244/9 in 50 overs
(C Atapattu 62, E Kaushalya 56,
Y Mendis 46; K Brunt 2/36, A Brindle 2/38, G Elwiss 2/39) by one wicket; New Zealand 320/5 in 50 overs (S Devine 145, S Bates 72) beat South Africa 170 in 41 overs (S Ruck 4/31) by 150 runs; Australia 175 in 46.1 overs (S Yousuf 3/30) beat Pakistan 84 in 33.2 overs
(S Coyte 3/20) by 91 runs