There was finally something to cheer for Sri Lanka as their captain Chamari Athapaththu slammed an unbeaten 80 to help her side register a thumping seven-wicket win over India in the third and final T20I match of the series at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium here on Monday.
Sri Lanka’s strong performance came a little late as they have already lost the series 2-1 to India. Chasing 139, Sri Lanka was not off the most ideal start, losing opener Vishmi Gunaratne for five at the end of the first over with captain Harmanpreet Kaur taking a good catch. Captain Chamari Athapaththu and Harshitha Madavi tried to stabilise the innings and their 31-run partnership was broker by Radha Yadav. Madavi was out on 13 off 14 balls after Mandhana took a catch at deep mid-wicket.
This brought Nilakshi de Silva to the crease. She along with Athapaththu attacked the Indian bowlers to attack, with the captain looking good in particular. The duo brought up a 50-run stand with a four in the 12th over. On the very next ball, captain Athapaththu slammed medium-pacer Simran Bahadur for another four, bringing up her half-century.
The partnership was broken after Silva was run out for 30 off 28 balls. This also ended the 77-run partnership between her and Athapaththu. Kavisha Dilhari was the next on the crease. She and her captain took Sri Lanka to the target, finishing at 141/3 in 17 overs, with Chamari Athapaththu remaining unbeaten at 80 and Dilhari on 7. Renuka Singh was the leading bowler for India with figures of 1/27 in four overs. Radha Yadav also took a wicket.
Earlier after choosing to bat first, solid knocks from captain Harmanpreet Kaur (39*) and Jemimah Rodrigues (33) took India to 138/5 at the end of 20 overs during the final T20I against Sri Lanka. Opener Shafali Verma (5) fell cheaply to spinner Sugandika Kumari. It was then that a solid 43-run stand between opener Smriti Mandhana and Sabbhineni Meghana stabilised the innings a bit for India.
Medium-pacer Oshadi Ranasinghe and spinner Inoka Ranaweera took wickets of Mandhana and Meghana respectively reducing India to 51/3. From then onwards, captain Kaur and Rodrigues put a solid 65-run stand. The duo maintained some solid strike rotation and hit some boundaries occasionally. Medium-pacer Ama Kanchana ended the stand, dismissing Rodrigues for 33. Kaur then took the innings forward with Pooja Vastrakar, who was run out on the final ball of the Indian innings. Kaur finished at 39*, while India finished at 138/5 in their 20 overs.
Brief Scores: India 138/5 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 39*, Jemimah Rodrigues 33, O Ranasinghe 1/13) lost to Sri Lanka 141/3 in 17 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 80*, Nilakshi de Silva 30, Renuka Singh 1/27) by seven wickets.