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Women’s T20 World Cup : Chamari Athapaththu praises team performance in Sri Lanka’s surprise win over South Africa

Cape Town : After Sri Lanka stunned hosts South Africa by three runs in the opening match at the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup, captain Chamari Athapaththu hailed the team’s performance in getting the surprise victory at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town.

Chamari led Sri Lanka’s charge with the bat through a superb 68 from 50 balls, the highest-ever score by a Sri Lankan batter at the Women’s T20 World Cup. She also shared a record-breaking second-wicket stand of 86 with 17-year-old Vishmi Gunaratne as Sri Lanka made 129/4 in their 20 overs.

Then, Sri Lanka’s spin trio of Sugandika Kumari, Oshadi Ranasinghe and Inoka Ranaweera took nine wickets in 12 overs between themselves to script a historic victory for a side which hadn’t played international cricket after becoming runners-up in the Women’s Asia Cup last year in October.

“I always try my best to lead from the front. I want to be a role model for the whole team. But this is not an individual performance, it all depends on the team’s performance and the bowling attack.

They all did very well in the match.” “We have a good culture in the team, a lot of youngsters and the senior players share knowledge with them. We all know South Africa are one of the best teams in the world and they are playing in their home conditions.

But we played good cricket and finally, we won,” said Chamari after the match ended. She also reserved some special praise for Vishmi, who scored 35 off 34 balls and took boundaries confidently off the fast bowlers, before a direct hit from Tazmin Brits ended her stay at the crease.

“Vishmi is the young superstar of our team. Her attitude is exactly what I want to see and she handled the fast bowlers very well. She has a very bright future.”

With Bangladesh up next for Sri Lanka, Chamari has now her eyes firmly set on a spot in the semi-finals. “We have upset some big teams a few times, and we’ve done it again.

This time we will try to play good cricket and go to the semi-finals, that’s our aim. We don’t fear any team. The rankings are just a number.” For South Africa, Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail operated well to restrict Sri Lanka to a par score.

But they failed to build partnerships with the bat, as captain Sune Luus top-scored with 28, but did not find support from others to lose in front of a bumper home crowd.

“Sri Lanka had a good partnership in the middle and we lacked those partnerships in our batting innings. We felt 129 was a par score. I don’t feel like they ran away with the game, I thought we were always going to be able to chase that.

We felt 140, 150 was achievable on that wicket.” With New Zealand their opponents in the next match, Sune thinks South Africa can bounce back. “One game doesn’t define a team. There’s a long way to go in this World Cup.

There are a lot of positives to take. The way Marizanne and Shabnim bowled in the powerplay was excellent and a few innings with the bat chipping in. There’s a lot to take into the coming games.”



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