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Chamari Athapaththu

'I have to lead from the front' – Chamari Athapaththu

Sri Lanka Women news

Sri Lanka Twenty20 International captain Chamari Athapaththu, who scored her maiden T20I hundred in the first match against Australia, is keen to replicate her free and positive style of cricket in the second game.

Australia set the visiting party a strong target of 218, courtesy of Beth Mooney's blazing 61-ball 113 and quick forties from Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner, before Athapaththu led from the front, in making a century. But, with not much support from the other batters, the visitors fell 41 short at North Sydney Oval.

With her 113, Athapaththu became the first woman from her country to score a T20I hundred. She was delighted to accomplish it against "the best team in the world".

"I am so happy, I just played my natural and normal game, positive cricket," she said after the match on Sunday, 29 September. "[But] this innings is now history, I [will] now focus on the [next] game, that's it."

The experience of playing T20 cricket in the women's leagues around the world has helped Athapaththu develop her game. She shares her experience and knowledge with her fellow team-mates, and is expecting "good cricket" from them in the next outing on Monday. 

"I played a lot of T20 cricket all around the world," she said. "I played in [the Women's Cricket] Super League, WBBL, and women's IPL. So I have a lot of experience. I share that experience with our girls and I am the captain so I have to lead from the front. I give my advice and share my knowledge with these girls. I think we can play good cricket [on Monday]. 

"Play freely, positive, courage. That's the three words I will say to my team."

Australia are no strangers to Athapaththu's power: She made an unbeaten 178 against them in the 2017 ICC Women's World Cup. Mooney, who joined a small group of players with two T20I centuries against their name, was all praise for the Sri Lankan. 

Australia will need to come up with reworked plans against her, Mooney admitted. "She's a clean striker of the ball and can take the game away from the opposition as she's done often in the past and she's done against us before.

Video cwc19 29 Jun 17
#WWC17 AUS v SL - Chamari Athapaththu Innings

"We'll have to have a sit-down and rethink about our plans against her but yeah, she did really well, very impressive."

The next T20I will be played at the same venue on Monday, 30 September. 

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