ENG vs SL: Sri Lanka won their first series against England in any format after having won the third T20I. England failed to rise four days after their first T20I setback to Sri Lanka, who knocked them out in 20 overs for another time in a row to claim the series 2-1 in Derby. A synergy of excellent bowling from Sri Lanka offspinner Kavisha Dilhari, seamer Udeshika Prabodhani, and Chamari Athapaththu – in tandem with some soft departures – led to England’s downfall on this occasion, all out for 116 after 19 overs at Chelmsford on Saturday.
Then Athapaththu delivered a classic show of power-hitting to initiate the run chase. Despite falling just short of her second consecutive fifty, she did plenty to steer her side to a seven-wicket victory with 18 balls left to play. This delivers England’s first bilateral T20I series oust to a team other than Australia since 2010. The success will also give her team a big momentum heading towards the three-match ODI series, which begins on Saturday in Durham.
Danni Wyatt smothered the opening ball of the match, from Inoshi Priyadharshani, right to Hasini Perera at cover, giving the hosts a head start in the ENG vs SL match. Their difficulties were exacerbated when Maia Bouchier flipped Prabodhani to square leg and resorted to a second run, only to change her mind about half of the way down the pitch and circle herself back to Alice Capsey.
Capsey was on her way back for two at that juncture, and she kept going as Prabhodhani passed the throw to wicketkeeper Anushka Sanjeewani to scoop out the bails with both batters at the same end, Capsey shook her head in bewilderment before trudging off with her side 11 for 2 during the ENG vs SL match.
Bouchier helped England recover to 41 for 2 in the following over off Athapaththu with back-to-back fours, driving wide of mid-off and swinging away through square leg. However, just after cutting Prabodhani through backward point for her 4th boundary, Bouchier took off Dilhari narrowly inside the boundary at long-on to bring up it 41 for 3 at the end of the powerplay.
Bouchier ended up maintaining England’s greatest individual score with a 23 off 18 balls. The host team was 70 for 4 at the halfway stage of their innings when Dilhari struck Heather Knight on the pad while she attempted to reverse-sweep an offbreak that kept low.
They had a monumental task ahead of them to offer their bowlers enough to defend.
And a continuous fall of wickets incessantly in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth over broke the back of the English innings.
It was just around four boundaries further that came the hosts’ way and the innings finally concluded on a lighter but choking note at the cost of the tail-enders Kate Cross and Mahika Gaur’s wickets thus freezing the scoreboard at 116 at the loss of the entire dugout in the ENG vs SL match.
Of course, that was just the beginning for Athapaththu, who later led Sri Lanka’s chase with command and style. She made her intentions known by driving Cross’s second ball, the ninth of the innings, over backward square leg for the first six and sending Gaur to the same spot for another maximum in the following over. Her side finished the powerplay on 58 without losing any wickets thanks to two off-side fours in three balls pitched by Dean.
Dean dispelled the threat posed by Athapaththu, who had scored 44 off 28, by taking the catch running over to her right from deep midwicket off Capsey. This gave England a doubled impetus. During their 65-run opening partnership, Sanjeewani had been Athapaththu’s ideal support, but Glenn pulled her in with a flighted delivery outside the off stump, and Capsey gobbled the catch at mid-off.
The modest hope of England had been dashed when Cross’s departure of Vishmi Gunaratne was reversed because ball tracking indicated it was heading down the leg side. Even though Glenn later removed Gunaratne by LBW, the tourists were already well on their way to a historic victory in the ENG vs SL match.
ENG vs SL 3rd T20I: Brief Scores
England 116 all out in 19 overs (Bouchier 23; Athapaththu 3-21) lost to Sri Lanka 117/3 in 17 overs (Athapaththu 44; Glenn 2-23) by 7 wickets.