Dominant Australia storms into final

With generous help from a sub-par Sri Lankan batting line-up, Australia extended its unbeaten run in the tournament as it registered an emphatic nine-wicket victory in a Super Six encounter to storm into the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 at the Brabourne Stadium in on Sunday (February 10).

Australia’s bowlers continued their dominance, bundling out Sri Lanka for just 131 in 45.2 overs.

With the asking rate a little under three runs per over, Australia cruised to victory with 166 balls to spare as Rachael Haynes led the chase with a fluent 71 off 61 balls, comprising nine fours and two sixes.

Put in to bat, Sri Lanka struggled right from the start as it took 206 deliveries to put 100 up runs on board after losing seven wickets.

Accurate and incisive spells by Megan Schutt and Julie Hunter, the Australian new-ball pair, ensured that Yasoda Mendis and Chamari Athapaththu, the Sri Lankan openers, were back in the hut within eight overs.

Schutt, the right-arm fast bowler, provided the breakthrough as she dismissed Mendis for nought. An indiscreet stroke saw Athapaththu gift her wicket to Hunter, Schutt taking a well-judged catch. At 21 for two after 10 overs, Sri Lanka was in deep trouble and it slipped further down the pit when it lost Shashikala Siriwardena, the captain, and Sandamali Dolawatta in the next six overs. The scoring rate also dipped drastically as Sri Lanka failed to recover from the early setbacks.

The fifth-wicket pair of Deepika Rasangika (43) and Dilani Manodara (21) gave Sri Lanka some hope of a revival by stitching together a patient 49-run stand off 90 balls to arrest the slide before Schutt bagged her second wicket when Rasangika hit out to Lisa Sthalekar, who held a comfortable catch at extra cover.

The scoring rate nosedived further as in the next over, Erin Osborne lured Manodara into taking the aerial route, only to be caught by Schutt. Overwhelmed by the desire to attack, Eshani Kaushalya, Sri Lanka’s form batter, lashed out but Alex Blackwell’s diving catch landed Osborne her second victim of the day, thereby ending all hopes of a Sri Lankan fightback. Thereafter, the lacklustre batting display continued, a 22-run stand for the ninth wicket between Chamani Seneviratna and Udeshika Prabodini merely prolonging the innings a bit.

Osborne was the most successful bowler with astonishing figures of 3 for 9. Schutt and Sthalekar shared four wickets equally to ensure a shaky Australian batting line-up didn’t have too much to chase.

In reply, Australia lost the wicket of Meg Lanning, the opener who scored an authoritative 37 off 36 balls with six fours and a six before edging a cut to Athapaththu at first slip. Haynes,who had earlier scored a brilliant 83 against South Africa in Cuttack, and Jess Cameron (22) added a brisk 77 off 78 balls for the second wicket to wrap up the issue in only 22.2 overs.

(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)