It was hard not to feel sorry for a desolate Shashikala Siriwardene as she quietly trudged off the park after play, with England Women burying the ghosts of its shock loss to Sri Lanka Women at the Women's World Cup in emphatic fashion in their ICC Women’s World Twenty20 game in Sylhet on Sunday (March 30).
The build up to the clash wasn't without its fair share of references to that game, and on the field, Sri Lanka looked unnerved at the prospect of playing an England side much superior to it and crashed to a seven-wicket loss in the Group B fixture. The win also meant that England has now sealed its berth in the semi-finals of the tournament.
A batting display devoid of direction or purpose meant Sri Lanka finished with 85 for 9 after opting to bat on a surface where Harmanpreet Kaur had set the template with a classy 77 in the previous game of the day.
In England’s reply, Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor put on 51 in 9.1 overs before Siriwardene struck twice. Heather Knight (21 in 25 balls) and Lydia Greenway (8*) then brought the scores level, but an attempt to finish off the game with a six resulted in Knight's dismissal. Natalie Sciver then brought up the winning runs off the second ball she faced to bring up England's victory with four overs to spare, Sri Lanka's campaign coming to an abrupt end with one match left to play.
On the way to her 36, Taylor, who effected four dismissals behind the stumps earlier in the game, was at her dominant best. She showed no mercy to the spinners as England wiped out 38 runs from the small target in the Power Play overs. At the other end, Edwards was a picture of composure, as England hardly broke a sweat in its stroll.
Given that dew has played its part in most games so far, Siriwardene's decision to bat first was a bold one. That made it all the more important for the batters to put up a respectable total. But Anya Shrubsole made life difficult right from the start as she trapped Chamari Atapattu off the second ball of the match with a delivery that swung back in prodigiously to hit her below the knee roll. In Shrubsole’s next over, Deepika Rasangika walked down the pitch to counter the swing but was late coming down on the ball and found her off stump going for a walk.
Not even the twin strikes up front prevented the batters that followed from attempting expansive strokes. Two balls after being let off, Yashoda Mendis danced down the pitch to Rebecca Grundy, the left-arm medium pacer, but missed the line of the ball as Taylor, who was standing up to the stumps, whipped the bails off.
Amidst the rubble, Siriwardene appeared calm, bringing every ounce of technique and temperament to the fore in her unbeaten 43-ball 38. It was also quite revealing that the second highest source of runs in the Sri Lankan innings was extras, which stood at 12.
As they were slowly being deflated, Siriwardene decided to step up the scoring rate, hitting Danielle Hazell, the left-arm spinner, down the ground for a six in the 16th over. But, sadly, her determination didn't rub off on her team-mates, and the captain was quite literally left to fend for herself while the ship sank.