Galle, Sept 28 (IBNS): An inspired Sri Lanka created another major upset when it beat the West Indies by five runs, courtesy of the Duckworth-Lewis method in the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2012 at Galle on Friday.
In the other match of the day, New Zealand registered a win over South Africa.
But the talking point of the day was when Sri Lanka played West Indies. Rain delayed the start of play and it was no surprise to see West Indies opt to bowl.
Sri Lanka was at 50 for three after 10.3 overs, with Shashikala Siriwardena unbeaten on 18, when the skies opened again. After another delay, West Indies was set a revised target of 48 from eight overs.
Once out on the field, the Sri Lanka team was a transformed unit, significantly sharper than it had been in its previous game against South Africa. Part of the reason for this was an unexpected pep talk from former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga.
"We were very tense going into bowl, and it came as a surprise for us to see Arjuna Ranatunga walking up to us. His pep talk did the trick for us, he turned out to be our lucky charm,’’ said Siriwardena.
Siriwardena brought on spinners from both ends, which was met with an aggressive approach from the West Indies batters that worked in the bowlers’ favour. Stafanie Taylor was run out for 3, then Deandra Dottin, the star of the previous game, was dismissed for four, Tremayne Smartt for eight, and Stacy-Ann King was run out for 12.
With 12 required off the final over, West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira became the fourth batter to be run out, and the team finished on 42 for eight to hand Sri Lanka a thrilling win.
Reflecting on the loss, Aguilleira said: "The target was achievable, but we just panicked. I think nerves got the better of us."
Chamani Seneviratna was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2 for 4 in two overs, while Inoka Ranaweera also had two wickets. Player of the match Senaviratna was delighted with her performance, saying: "This has to be the most satisfying moment in my career. These were the best two wickets I've taken."
Despite the loss, West Indies is still in a good position, but there is still work to do according to Aguilleira. "We still have a good chance of making it through to the semis, but the batting needs to click,” she said. “South Africa won't be easy. This is just a minor blip, and I hope we don't repeat the same mistakes.”
In the first match of the day, New Zealand got its campaign back on track with a 22-run win over South Africa.
After losing its opening game to the West Indies, captain Suzie Bates was pleased with her team’s performance: "We were a little nervous coming into the game for sure. It is such a relief to get back on track.
It is a World Twenty20 and you do expect the teams to come hard at you. It was good that we exhibited tremendous positivity and got the right result going into the last game."
New Zealand put together a formidable 151 for five in 20 overs after being put in to bat by South Africa. The innings was propelled by Sophie Devine and Frances Mackay, who put together a 94-run stand for the third wicket.
Devine registered her maiden T20I fifty when she smashed 59 off just 46 balls. Her knock was studded with five fours and three sixes. Mackay made her way to 49 before being dismissed in the penultimate over of the innings.
"I had already decided that I had to bat positively no matter what," Devine said. "I was also helped by the fact that it was a very good pitch to bat on. I think Frances [Mackay] took a lot of pressure off me."
Dane van Niekerk and Susan Benade picked up two wickets each.
Chasing 151, South Africa lost openers Shandre Fritz and Trisha Chetty cheaply and South Africa was reduced to 15 for two in the fourth over. Alison Hodgkinson and Benade set about repairing the innings, but Benade fell to the medium pace of Nicola Brown on 24, after smashing two fours and two sixes.
After Hodgkinson was dismissed for 31 by Mackay, South Africa tried to produce big shots. Captain Mignon du Preez said of her team’s strategy: "If you're going down, better to go down giving yourself an opportunity to score some runs too. No point just batting out the overs."
Browne was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 13, while Devine had two. The two results mean all teams in group B – Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and West Indies – have one win each with one match to play, and have a chance of moving through to the semi-finals.
Scores in Brief
At GICS, Sri Lanka beat West Indies by 5 runs (D/L method)