Sri Lanka thrash Scotland to win Women’s T20 World Cup qualifiers

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu hit a sensational hundred to set up a big win in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier final against Scotland.

Sarah Bryce, standing in as skipper for her sister Kathryn Bryce who missed out due to a niggle, elected to bowl first after winning the toss in Abu Dhabi. Her decision was backed by her bowlers, with seamer Priyanaz Chatterji striking in the third over with the crucial wicket of Vishmi Gunaratne (9).

Off-spinner Katherine Fraser then trapped Harshita Samarawickrama (8) before the end of the first Powerplay to give Scotland another success. Dynamic all-rounder Kavisha Dilhari came in at number four and tried to reconstruct the innings along with skipper Athapaththu.

However, she fell after a couple of attacking fours, being stumped after coming down the track to leg-spinner Abtaha Maqsood. Having seen off the new ball, Athapaththu picked up the pace in Hannah Rainey’s third over. Taking advantage of a free hit call off the third ball, Athapaththu hit the pacer over covers for a four. She followed up with two more boundaries off the next two balls to bring her strike-rate over 100.

A six and four off Chloe Abel helped Athapaththu close in on her second fifty of the tournament. There was little stopping the veteran southpaw after that.

Athapaththu brought up her fifty with a six over Fraser in the 14th over. This was followed by another six against Chatterji in the next over.

Fortune favoured Athapaththu twice in the 17th over, bowled by Maqsood. The batter got an inside edge which saw the ball going back and touching the stumps. However, the bails failed to dislodge.

The very next ball Athapaththu went big once more, but the fielder in the deep put down a catch to the give the Sri Lankan another life.

The unstoppable Athapaththu continued to punish Scotland, bringing up her hundred off merely 60 balls. This was also the first century of the tournament.

Rachel Slater’s double strike accounted for Athapaththu and Hasini Perera (0) but by then Sri Lanka had already placed themselves in a dominant position.

Chasing 170 to win, Saskia Horley and Megan McColl began with positive intent, hitting three boundaries in as many overs. However, Horley fell in the third over itself trying to steal a quick single after deflecting the ball towards Nilakshika Silva in the mid-off region.

Her partner, McColl, was trapped leg before by Udeshika Prabodhani in the very next over. Scotland’s troubles compounded when skipper Sarah Bryce was bowled two balls later.

Scotland had added six more runs before Sugandika Kumari removed Darcey Carter (3) to leave their chase in disarray at 23/4. After the first powerplay, Priyanaz Chatterji took the initiative by hitting a flurry of boundaries.

Despite this, Scotland were at 48/4 at the halfway stage, needing over 12 runs per over to win the final. Chatterji’s brisk 30 came to an end when she was cleaned up by Inoshi Priyadarshini in the 13th over.

Sri Lanka’s win seemed a mere formality thereafter with Prabodhani picking up another wicket to finish as Sri Lanka’s top performer with the ball.

By virtue of being finalists in the tournament, both sides had already qualified for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2024 in Bangladesh.

With the win, Sri Lanka will now join Australia, New Zealand, India and Pakistan in Group A of the Women’s T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, Scotland join hosts Bangladesh, England, South Africa and West Indies.

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