Sri Lanka managed to avoid a clean sweep with a comprehensive 93-run win over Pakistan in the third ODI in Karachi. Here are all the Talking Points from the game.
The Chamari Athapaththu Show
Up until the final ODI in Karachi, Chamari Athapaththu had a forgetful tour of Pakistan. With single-digit scores in the first two games and failing to convert her start in the three matches thereafter, the skipper had a chip on her shoulder heading into the final game.
Sri Lanka endured a horrid start with the bat, losing two wickets in the first two overs. Athapaththu, however, wasn't going to be bogged down on the day and took the attack to Pakistan instead of going into a shell.
With Harshitha Madavi holding one end, she had the license to go for it. Athapaththu, who was 37 off 46 at the end of the 17th over, unleashed an array of attacking shots, accumulating five boundaries in the next four overs. She brought up the first fifty on tour and wasn't going to stop at that.
She kept finding boundaries at will and took Diana Baig to the cleaners with three consecutive fours that took her to 99. She got to her hundred with a single and fell the very next over but not before inflicting irreparable damage.
Contributions from the middle-order took Sri Lanka to 260/7, their highest score on the tour.
Athapaththu turns the game around with the ball
As if the skipper hadn't done enough already, she changed the game for her side in the Powerplay.
Pakistan got off to a great start, going almost at run-a-ball before Athapaththu brought herself on in the eighth over and struck off her second ball to trap Sidra Ameen in front of the stumps.
In the very next over, a direct hit from the captain brought an end to Muneeba Ali's innings before she scalped Nida Dar few overs later to pick up her second wicket.
From 40/0 after seven overs, Pakistan were 51/4 from 12. Athapaththu's figures read 3-1-4-2 at that point, eventually finishing with 2/20 in six overs.
Despite resistance from Omaima Sohail and Aliya Riaz, the damage was already done. Pakistan folded for 167, falling short by 93 runs.
Sri Lanka put first IWC points on board
The win puts the first points on board for Sri Lanka in the current iteration of the ICC Women's Championship. After two one-sided contests in the first two games, the visitors finally registered a victory in the final game on the tour.
Sri Lanka have more difficult challenges ahead of them – they will host India, New Zealand, Bangladesh and West Indies and will travel to England, South Africa and Ireland.
Still stinging from missing out on the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in 2022, Sri Lanka will be hoping to build on this win and qualify for the marquee event in 2025.
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