By Shashank Kishore in Sylhet
Opener pilots chase with half-century after Sri Lanka Women shot out for 84
As they dispersed, there were a few pumps of the fists and high-fives. Perhaps by then, news of the men's win had trickled in from the dressing room. Not ones to be left behind, the Merissa Aguilleira-led women’s side played a brand of cricket that would have received a nod of approval from Caribbean fans, beating Sri Lanka by eight wickets at the Sylhet Divisional Stadium on Friday (March 28).
The win also ensured its qualification for the semifinals of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2014.
The chase was a comfortable one for West Indies after Shanel Daley and Tremayne Smartt, the medium pacers, ensured Sri Lanka was all out for 84 in 16.5 overs. Daley returned figures of 4 for 15, including the important scalp of Shashikala Siriwardene, the Sri Lankan captain, who was caught brilliantly by Stafanie Taylor at short third man, while Smartt shut out the tail with two full and straight yorkers to finish with 3 for 15.
On a night where even a par-score of 120 would have taken some defending given the heavy dew, Kycia Knight and Taylor played proper strokes to set the tone for victory. In the end, West Indies finished off the match with 30 balls to spare.
As the bowlers struggled to grip the ball, Taylor took toll of the full tosses and half-trackers to blaze away to an unbeaten 56 off 45 balls, while Shemaine Campbelle finished on 2 not out.
Kycia, who was dropped by Chamari Polgampola in the slips off the first ball of the innings, fell for 15 in an attempt to take on the bowling. She was deceived in flight by Siriwardene as Rebeka Vandort whipped the bails off quickly. But it was just a minor flutter in an otherwise ruthless performance as Taylor took charge and piloted the chase, stroking seven boundaries.
For Sri Lanka, Yashoda Mendis, the opener, made an attractive 21, but the other top-order batters couldn't get going.
Chamari Atapattu was bowled off a delivery that held its line, Sripali Weerakoddy was out playing a cross-batted heave, Polgampola was run-out attempting a suicidal single and Siriwardene was sent back courtesy Taylor's one-handed brilliance diving to her left.
Eshani Kaushalya tried to salvage the innings, making a measured 24-ball 20. As wickets were falling around her, she tried to hit out and go for quick runs, but only found Kycia at long-on. Her fall meant Sri Lanka's total was kept down and also impacted the net run-rate. However, with two games still in hand, Sri Lanka can draw hope from the fact that it can still control its fate.