Sri Lanka is in position to extend the winning habit against West Indies on Sunday, when the two qualifiers face off in ICC Women’s World Cup at the MIG ground in the suburbs, far away from Brabourne stadium where the islanders earned their spurs pulling the carpet from under the world champion England two days ago.
Lanka’s first win against the favourite was based on teamwork, with Eshani Lokusooriya’s two-wicket burst at the start and power-hitting towards the end standing out amidst small, but significant contributions from others who chipped away at England as per the match situation.
Eventually the pressure got too much to handle for the highly-experienced defending champion. Having got off the blocks in spectacular style, the upstarts have modified their expectations in the World Cup.
“Expectations have increased now. The first target was to make the Super Six. Once we get there, the target is to make the semifinal,” said captain Shashikala Siriwardena on the eve of the match.
“In the history of our cricket, we had not performed against big teams, so the new confidence will help in the coming matches.”
The depth in the batting line-up is such that wicket-keeper Dilani Manodara, who lashed the winning six against the world champion off the final ball, comes at number 10 in a 50-over game.
“Our bowling and fielding is good, so we keep an eye on restricting the opponent to 200. Now our batters will be on top for the next match,” quipped Shashikala, the number three batter. West Indies, placed at other end of the see-saw after getting beaten by India in a one-sided tie, needs to tackle three others Lankan batters in sparkling form — openers Chamari Athapaththu, Yashoda Mendis and big-hitter Eshani.
The match venue has produced big scores in the practise games, so bowlers may face punishment.
Lanka proved to be an astute chaser on Friday, though West Indies has players able to win matches through big-hitters like Stefanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin and captain Merissa Aguilleira.
Keywords: ICC Women's World Cup