Sri Lanka may have had real aspirations only very early on in this game. Sri Lanka’s chances significantly decreased after Chamari Athapaththu, the sole hitter for Sri Lanka with a history of scoring heavily against Australia, was removed for 16 runs.
They never even started an inning. On a slow Gqeberha surface, Australia’s spinners frequently provided dot balls as Harshitha Samarawickrama and Vishmi Gunaratne battled to make solid contact. Nevertheless, Megan Schutt’s seam bowling was more effective. Three of those dismissals came in the last over of the inning, giving her a total of 4 for 24 from her four overs.
The weak goal was easily defeated by Australia’s superb openers after Sri Lanka collapsed to 112 for 8. Alyssa Healy maintained her stellar form, hitting 54 off 43 balls without being struck out. And Beth Mooney, who had a subdued World Cup debut, made 56 off of 53. With 25 balls remaining, they saunter-walked to the target.
Australia delivers a decisive first salvo
It was always going to take a strong Athapaththu performance for Sri Lanka to surprise the defending champs, but for a brief while, it appeared as though Athapaththu was enjoying her work. Athapaththu blasted Darcie Brown past the covers in her opening over before slashing her in front of point two balls later. Afterwards, she launched Ashleigh Gardner over cow corner for six by getting down on one knee.
Ellyse Perry’s ball in the fifth over, however, caused Athapaththu’s attempted lofted shot down the ground to go high in the air behind the bowler for a little period of time. In most cases, it would have landed without incident, but Grace Harris raced after the ball from mid-field and leaped into the air to make the catch while still in the air.
Spinners contain Sri Lanka’s starting lineup
The largest partnership for Sri Lanka, which produced 39 runs, was between Samarawickrama and Gunaratne at the second wicket. Yet it also diminished the momentum of the innings because Australia’s slow bowlers made effective use of the slow surface. Both hitters made an effort to take advantage of the ball’s pace by playing reverse sweeps and paddles. But, because the surface was slow, they frequently missed their touch and even when they did, the ball did not travel to the boundary.
Harris stood out among the spinners, grabbing 2 for 7 off three overs with her offbreaks. Legspinner Georgia Wareham finished her four overs with 1 for 20.
Mooney and Healy sprint to the objective
The opening players for Australia pursued this total as though it were a given. In the opening over, both batters drove Sugandika Kumari through square leg for four runs. Oshadi Ranasinghe, an offspinner, delivered the fourth over. Mooney blasted another four square on the leg side, and Healy then sprinted down the track again to hit two consecutive boundaries.
As the powerplay expired, they became even more efficient, lowering the necessary rate to 3.7 an over by the midway point. From there, it was a piece of cake. Healy’s reverse slap square on the off side off the 38th ball she faced gave her her second half-century of the competition. Mooney reached her fifty at a run-a-ball with the outcome still in reach.