Chamari Athapaththu will become the first Sri Lankan to play in the Women’s Super League in England after she was named as a replacement for Beth Mooney, the Australian opener, at Yorkshire Diamonds.
Athapaththu is scheduled to leave for England on Saturday (July 29), and the second edition of the tournament gets underway on August 10. She will team up with the likes of Katherine Brunt, Jenny Gunn, Lauren Winfield, all integral members of England’s victorious 2017 Women’s World Cup campaign, New Zealand’s Sophie Devine and South Africa’s Sune Luus.
Athapaththu made headlines with her unbeaten 178 – the highest score by a batter in World Cup history – during a league game against Australia in Bristol. Though Sri Lanka lost the game, Athapaththu became the player of the match for scoring 69.26% of runs – the most by any batter in a complete innings.
Her 143-ball knock from No. 3 included 22 fours and six sixes and came at a strike-rate of 124.47. After the end of the match, she had said that she aspired to play in the Women’s Big Bash League, and Meg Lanning, the Australian captain, had said that Melbourne Stars would be happy to have her “if she is going to bat like that everytime.”
Also read: Athapaththu takes it slow and steady
Athapaththu ended as Sri Lanka’s highest run-getter in the tournament with a tally of 311 runs in seven games at an average of 51.83. She was one of the four batters with 300-plus runs to average more than 50 in the competition. Sri Lanka won their last game against Pakistan to avoid the wooden spoon.
Athapaththu made her Twenty20 International debut in June 2009, and since then has played 58 games for 1001 runs at a strike-rate of 91.41. She has also picked up eight wickets with her medium pace bowling. She has played just one T20I in England, way back in 2009.
Yorkshire, who finished fifth out of six teams with just one win in five games last season, open their campaign against Lancashire Thunder in a home game at Headingley in Leeds on August 11.