Chamari Athapaththu was rewarded for her exceptional year with the bat in ODIs. The Sri Lanka top-order batter made significant contributions with the bat and as captain, notably leading the side to a first bilateral series win over New Zealand.
Chamari Athapaththu in 2023 in ODIs
415 runs and 1 wicket in 8 matches
The year that was
Athapaththu showcased exceptional skills and leadership throughout the year, excelling both as a captain and a player in the ODI format.
Athapaththu started the year as skipper with a 1-0 win in a rain-truncated series over Bangladesh. With the first two matches not producing a result due to rain, the final clash turned into a decider.
In a 30-over-a-side game, the skipper stroked a 60-ball 64 laced with six fours and four sixes to propel Sri Lanka to 186. With the ball, Athapaththu got rid of her opposite number and top-scorer Nigar Sultana to put her side in pole position for victory.
Her finest hours as a player and captain came against New Zealand, where Sri Lanka recorded their first-ever bilateral series win (2-1) over the White Ferns.
Athapaththu starred in both victories with a couple of fiery centuries that blew New Zealand away. Her 108* and 140* came in pressure chases and on both occasions, the opener was at the crease to guide her team to victory.
Her significance in the team became even more evident during the series against England, where Sri Lanka suffered a 2-0 defeat on foreign soil, largely due to lean returns from the 33-year-old.
Athapaththu brought her A-game in the crunch series decider against New Zealand with a stunning unbeaten 140 to take Sri Lanka to a historic victory.
Sri Lanka found themselves in a precarious situation early on at 4/2 within the first four overs while chasing a target of 196 in 29 overs. Undeterred by the challenging circumstances, Athapaththu took an aggressive approach, matching New Zealand's fire with her own. In a remarkable turnaround, Sri Lanka reached a run-a-ball rate by the 10-over mark.
With Nilakshika Silva solid at one end, Athapaththu raced to a fifty off just 31 balls. It took her only 29 more balls to reach the century, which is the fourth-fastest in Women’s ODI history and the fastest by a Sri Lankan.
The pair added 190 runs, the highest-ever for Sri Lanka in Women’s ODIs as the hosts chased down the target with eight wickets and 13 balls to spare.