Sri Lanka’s national Women’s team ranked 8th in ICC World rankings have had a very disappointing tour of the West Indies, prior to the Women’s ICC T20 World cup scheduled to get underway at St Kitts, in the Caribbean from the 5th to the 16th of May.
The pertinent question is, can the Sri Lankan ladies be competitive against top teams in the likes of England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India and hosts West Indies? Going by the results in the run up games just concluded at the Caribbean, an early exit is in evitable unless otherwise Chamani Seneviratne and her girls heed to the coaches’ call and play sensible cricket.
Sri Lanka cricket for first time in history, has recruited contracted players for Women’s cricket. They have sourced an excellent national coach namely Harsha De Silva who incidentally has produced champion outfits at School club level and quality players to national level. The team has been given all the facilities equaling the standards of the national team.
The ladies were given an opportunity to play two one day internationals and three T20 games against the hosts, which is a great opportunity in terms of acclimatizing to the weather and getting the feel of the West Indian pitches and the outfield.
The ladies played the two one day internationals at St Paul’s sports complex Basseterre at St Kitts. Harsha De Silva stated that the pitch at St Paul’s was up to standard and the outfield acceptable. The first game was reduced to 33 overs due inclement weather. Put into bat Sri Lanka’s batswomen made 129 runs for 8 wickets. However they lost the lung opener by 2 wickets and that too in the 33rd over after conceding 12 wides and one free hit.
Sri Lanka women won the second one day international by a convincing margin of 38 runs by winning the toss and batting first. They accumulated 198 runs for 9 wickets in their allotted 50 overs however the pertinent point is, none of the batters made it count by scoring a half century. In this game too they conceded 14 deadly wides and a free hit to the opposition. According Harsha De Silva the wides conceded was only 17 runs and this included the runs accumulated. He stated that this was acceptable taking into consideration that this venue was the windiest he has ever seen since the grounds was close to the sea.
The Sri Lankan Women were disappointing in the T20 version, losing all three games to the home team. All the scores accumulated were modest totals. Winning the toss and electing to bat in the first game, the ladies made only 120 runs for 9 wickets which included a run out. The opposition won this game by 3 wickets and 3 balls to spare. Sri Lanka women will be kicking their heels, bowling 5 no balls and two wides, thereby giving the opposition 5 free hits and bowling seven extra balls taking into consideration the 2 wides bowled.
In the second T20, winning the toss yet again and choosing to bat first Sri Lanka made only 103 runs. Two run outs caused pandemonium to the game plan. The Caribbean ladies reached the target easily with 9 balls to spare thereby winning the game convincingly by 6 wickets.
The third T20 was very disappointing yet again from a Sri Lanka perspective. The home team was struggling with their total being 112 for 9 wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Five complementary runs went a begging due to the wides virus. The batswomen let the side down yet again, bowled out for a paltry 84.
There were plenty of missed opportunities in the 3 match white wash. In the first T20 game the home team in pursuit of 121 for victory was struggling on 25 for 5 wickets.
In the third and final encounter chasing a modest target of 113 Sri Lanka got off to a great start being 40 for no loss in the 6th over, the Caribbean ladies got the much needed breakthrough thanks to a run out. What happened to the rest of the batters? The answer was somewhat predictable they folded like a pack of cards.
The coach in an exclusive interview to www.srilankacricket.lk stated that the batters need to realize 20 overs is a lot of balls and must occupy the crease for longer period of time.
He also stated that running between wickets is ordinary and this was an area of concern before the tour.
He did lament about limited training time since the girls had only three net sessions. A training session in between matches would have done a world of good.
On the positive angle Harsha stated that the weather is very similar to that of Sri Lanka, which means it’s tropical, hence acclimatizing to Mother Nature was no problem. He also stated that the recovery period from Jet Lag was 48 hours.
Finally he is optimistic that the girls will learn from their mistakes and put up a better show come the 5th of May.