In what was seen as the first major upset of the tournament, an inspired Sri Lanka overcame the West Indies challenge by five runs, courtesy the Duckworth/Lewis method, to register their first win of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2012 in Galle on Friday (September 28).
A good crowd came in, given the local interest, and was treated to some typical Sri Lankan flavour at the Galle International Stadium. The drums and trumpets were out in force, and those that turned up to watch the game witnessed outstanding fielding, wicket-to-wicket bowling, and some inspired captaincy by Shashikala Siriwardena. The victory meant that Sri Lanka are still in with a shout for a semifinal spot.
A downpour delayed the start of play by nearly an hour, which is why it was not surprise to see West Indies opt to bowl. Sri Lanka were at 50 for three after 10.3 overs, with Siriwardena unbeaten on 18, when the heavens opened. After another hour-long delay, West Indies were set a revised target of 48 from eight overs.
The Sri Lankan team was in a huddle for nearly five minutes before it went out to bowl. Once out on the field, they were a completely transformed unit, significantly sharper than they had been in the previous game against South Africa.
The start was far from convincing for West Indies as Stafanie Taylor was run out for 3. Deandra Dottin, the star of the previous game, was then dismissed for 4 to leave them staring at a possible defeat.
Siriwardena was proactive with her field settings and her decision to bring on spinners from both ends met with an aggressive approach from the West Indies batters, which worked in Sri Lanka’s favour.
Tremayne Smartt (8) fell in trying to clear the infield, while Stacy Ann King was brilliantly run out for 12 as panic set in.
With 12 required off the final over, Eshani Kaushalya, bowling her first over of the game, conceded only six. West Indies finished on 42 for eight to hand Sri Lanka a thrilling win.
Chamani Seneviratna was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2 for 4 in two overs, while Inoka Ranaweera also had two wickets. What won Sri Lanka the game though was their fielding, which was top notch right through. The fact that the Sri Lankan team took a victory lap around the ground revealed just how much the win meant to them.