The Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 got off to a great start as hosts South Africa and Sri Lanka kicked off the global tournament with a thrilling curtain raiser in Cape Town. The Asian team gave the hosts a three-run win in a thrilling encounter. Sri Lankan captain Chamari Athapaththu led the team from the front in the first innings.
After a good job by the Proteas bowlers, it was the batsmen’s turn to get their first win of the tournament. The home side got off to a good start to the chase before Inoka Ranaweera came into the attack. The veteran left-arm spinner credited Laura Wolvaardt and Marizanne Kapp for taking her side into the contest.
Despite what appeared to be a meager total on the board, the Sri Lankan batsmen put tremendous pressure on the South African batsmen, especially the slow bowlers, who did not allow the batsmen a moment’s rest. South African skipper Sune Luus anchored the innings with her fighting innings as wickets kept falling at the other end.
However, his departure in the penultimate over of the match proved decisive in the contest as Sri Lanka got over the line in a tense finish. Ranvira was one of the bowlers who returned with impressive figures of 3/18 from her four overs. Sugandhika Kumari and Oshadi Ranasinghe also contributed brilliantly, taking two wickets each.
Athapaththu leads the charge for Sri Lanka
Earlier in the match, the Chamari Athapaththu-led Asian team was put out to bat first by the hosts. Even though they lost Harshita Madavi cheaply, their skipper dug deep from one end, getting able support from young Vishmi Gunaratne. The duo added 86 runs for the second wicket but failed to provide the desired end to the innings as both the set batsmen were dismissed in successive balls of the 18th over.
South Africa’s bowlers tightened things up at the death conceding just 15 runs in the last three overs to restrict their Asian counterparts to a modest score of 129 runs in their 20 overs. Athapaththu was the star of the show, scoring 68 off just 50 balls to silence her critics.