Clinical New Zealand Women canters to seven-wicket win
Rachel Priest and Suzie Bates do the needful with 64-run stand after bowlers restrict Sri Lanka Women to 110/8
15 March 2016 23:08
Tight bowling, smart fielding, impressive captaincy and sensible batting helped New Zealand Women beat Sri Lanka Women.
Having opted to bat on a slowish pitch, Sri Lanka started positively, but lost the plot against the spinners and managed only 110 for 8. After that, New Zealand rode on the 64-run opening partnership between Rachel Priest and Suzie Bates before finishing the game in 15.1 overs, extending the unbeaten streak against Sri Lanka in limited-overs cricket to 16 games.
The Sri Lankan opening pair of Chamari Atapattu and Yasoda Mendis had a clear plan. While Atapattu focussed on crease occupation, Mendis was the aggressor. The formula worked initially as the two put on 24 runs in the first three overs.
Canny as ever, Bates, the captain, introduced spin through Morna Nielsen, the chinaman bowler, in the fourth over, and wickets fell like ninepins after that.
After Atapattu played on to Leigh Kasperek in the first ball after the Power Play overs ended, Mendis and Dilani Manodara took a series of risky singles to keep the scoreboard moving, but the boundaries dried up and Mendis had made 30 when Katie Perkins dived to her right at midwicket to take a sharp catch off Amy Satterthwaite.
Mendis’s departure off the last ball of the 13th over also ended Sri Lanka’s boundary tally. That the batters could not find the fence for the last 44 balls of the innings indicated how New Zealand controlled the game’s flow. While the bowlers rose to the challenge, the alertness of Bates proved to be the difference. Each time she saw a batter targeting to a particular area, she shuffled the field accordingly. With no scope for playing big shots and fielders placed strategically to cut out singles, the Sri Lankans pressed the panic button.
Manodara looked good in her 31-ball 37, which included the sole six of the innings, but was run out after a mix up with Shashikala Siriwardene. Four runs later, Eshani Lokusuriyage was beaten by Lea Tahuhu’s pace to be bowled. Then came another big moment in the game when Oshadi Ranasinghe hit one to the stumps at the bowlers’ end, and Sophie Devine, the bowler, collected the ricochet and uprooted the stumps to send Siriwardene back.
Three more cheap wickets fall in the last 22 balls, as Sri Lanka scored only 71 for the loss of eight wickets after the Power Play overs.
Bates and Priest got the chase off to a flying start, quashing any hope Sri Lanka had of defending its second-highest total against New Zealand.
Priest hit a straight four in the first over and there was no looking back after that, as she established her control over the proceedings in the fourth over when Lokusuriyage was pulled for consecutive fours.
The two hit eight fours in their 60-ball association before Inoka Ranaweera had Bates stumped for 28. Siriwardene bowled Priest for a run-a-ball 37 in the next over, and Devine’s run out after that gave Sri Lanka three wickets in three overs. The flurry of wickets didn’t do much to change the flow of the game, though, as Sarah McGlashan and Satterthwaite got the job done with an unbroken 34-run stand.
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