In Chamari We Trust
So often the fortunes of the Sri Lanka team rise and fall depending on the performance of their skipper and this tournament was no different. Unfortunately Chamari Athapaththu was not at her best and Sri Lanka went through the Commonwealth Games without a victory.
The signs were good early when they pushed heavyweights England in a hard fought battle, and indeed were the only team in Pool B to do that, but the losses inflicted on them by both South Africa and New Zealand were significant.
- England (England by 5 wickets)
- New Zealand (New Zealand by 45 runs)
- South Africa (South Africa by 10 wickets)
The batting numbers are not pretty, compounded by the fact that the normally reliable skipper, Chamari Athapaththu, scored just 25 runs at a strike rate of 49.02, well below her best of 103.27.
Underlining the batting woes is the fact that no batter (save for tail-ender Achini Kulasuriya) had a strike rate above 90.00. Only one batter scored an aggregate over 50, that being Nilakshi de Silva, whose 36* was the highest score from the team during the tournament.
It’s no small feat for Inoka Ranaweera to have finished in the top 10 wicket takers when you consider she played only three games, where the others played four or five. Her wickets did come at a cost – her economy rate of 7.20 is quite high, but at least she was taking wickets, for only two other bowlers managed to break through: Oshadi Ranasinghe and Kavisha Dilhari.
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Catches offered were taken and the ground fielding about the same as one expects from this team. Wicket keeper Anushka Sanjeewani had a good tournament, picking up two catches and two stumpings.
Where next? The team would benefit from an injection of youth. It was a shame that teenager Vishmi Gunaratne was cast aside after two matches. She is part of the future and needs all the game time she can get. One will look towards the Under 19 World Cup in January to see if Sri Lanka can unearth some new talent. It is sorely needed.