The Sri Lankan women’s cricket team held their nerve to register a 14-run victory over Ireland, their first win of the tournament, in the ICC World Twenty20 group match in Mohali on Sunday.
Replying to Sri Lanka’s 129/7, Ireland fumbled towards the end after having steadied the innings following the loss of two early wickets to end at 115 for eight.
Requiring 36 in the last 3 overs proved a tall order for the Irish, who like the islanders, had come in to this match having suffered a loss at the hands of New Zealanders.
Skipper Isobel Joyce (24) was run out at a crucial stage when the Irish were 4-87 with 29 balls remaining. The Ireland skipper weaved a 47-run partnership for the 5th wicket with Laura Delany (29), who also fell run out with fourteen balls remaining, thus sealing the fate of the losing team. In the end, Ireland could manage only 115/8.
For the Lankans, Sugandika Kumari, who took three wickets in all, provided early breakthroughs removing opener Clare Shilington (1) and Cath Dalton (5). Cecelia Joyce (29) fell to Oshadi Ranasinghe leaving Ireland in a spot of bother at 3-40 in the 9th over.
Chamari Athapattu, who turned out for injured SL skipper Shashikala Siriwardene, looked in fine nick and made her intentions clear from the first over hitting two boundaries of Kim Garth.
Irish medium pacer Amy Kenealy also came in for heavy stick as the SL skipper hit three boundaries in one of her overs. However, leg spinner Ciara Metcalfe dealt twin blows in the 6th over of the innings having opener Yasoda Mendis (9) LBW while well-set Athapathhu handed out a catch. She made a quickfire 34 of 22 balls that included seven hits to the fence.
After the exit of the openers, Dilani Mandora (6) was run out two overs later. Soon, Metcalfe was back in action again with her twin strikes in the innings 10th over, bowling out Oshadi Ranasinghe (1) and Harshitha Madavi, the 17-year-old who was making her T20 international debut, for a duck.
At the end of the 10th over, SL had lost five wickets for 59 runs, but they made a good recovery, riding on the back of middle order player Prasadani Weerakkody (32) and Eshani Lokusuriyage (35) knocks. The duo weaved a crucial 49-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Weerakkody departed in the 18th over.
Sri Lanka 129/7 (Eshani Lokusuriyage 35, Chamari Atapattu 34)
Ireland 115/8 (Cecilia Joyce 29, Isobel Joyce 24). Sri Lanka won by 14 runs.