Some excellent bowling performances by New Zealand pacers Lea Tahuhu (4-27) and Sian Ruck (3-16) ensured that the Kiwis defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets in a Super Six match of the Women’s World Cup at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) ground.
Kiwi skipper Suzie Bates elected to field after winning the toss and the move seemed to have worked in her team’s favour as they bowled out the Sri Lankan eves for 103 in 42 overs.
The White Fern eves made the most of the early morning moist conditions by getting early breakthroughs in the match. Tahuhu, who ensured that the opposition batswomen were unable to adjust to her pace, got the wicket of opener Yasoda Mendis in the first ball of the second over. On the other end, Tahuhu’s partner Ruck swung the ball without giving any room to the opposition. Their fiery spell left Sri Lanka was struggling at 4-23 at one point.
The fifth wicket partnership between Dilani Manodara and Sandamali Dolawatte of 38 runs was the highest score for the islanders. Manodara looked to stabilise the innings, but Tahuhu ended the partnership as Dolawatte offered an easy catch to Katie Perkins. Later, wickets kept falling and Sri Lanka was able to put on board a total of a paltry 103 runs. Tahuhu was named the player of the match.
Chasing 104, the New Zealand openers Frances Mackay (39 no) and Suzie Bates (37) made an important 71-run first wicket partnership before Bates was caught by Manodara behind the stumps off an Inoka Ranaweera ball in the 16th over. Ranaweera also took the wicket of Amy Satterthwaite in the same over. Sophie Devine’s quick-fire 29 helped the Kiwis seal a win with a six in the 23rd over. The win means New Zealand now has four points, carrying forward two points from the league stages.
After the win, Bates admitted that the match had turned out to be relatively easier than they expected. “We came here thinking that the match will be a tough one. But it was easier than we had planned,” said the skipper, who is the highest run-getter in the tournament with 277 runs with an average of 92.3.
Despite missing her fourth consecutive half-century in the tournament, Bates was satisfied with her performance. “I have been lucky in this tournament and have scored runs. We had a good start, but lost couple of wickets. It was nice to lead from the front,” said the 25-year-old.
Tahuhu, on the other hand, is glad to have made the most of the moist conditions. She said, “It was a nice pitch to bowl on. Having won the toss, we were able to take some early wickets.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan skipper Shashikala Siriwardena said that their top order didn’t fire and this led to their downfall.
“It is the first time we are playing at BKC. The Kiwis swung the ball really well. Sandamali and Dilani did try to build up a partnership but they were unable to continue resulting in a downfall. We were confident that we would play good cricket after two wins against India and England. But unfortunately we couldn’t continue our fine form,” said the 27-year-old.