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ICC T20 World Cup 2023: Harshitha Samarawickrama’s Unbeaten 69 Helps Sri Lanka Beat Bangladesh

With a two-in-two justified win in the ICC T20 World cup 2023, Sri Lanka advances a step ahead to book its place in the knockouts after beating Bangladesh by 7 wickets and 10 balls remaining. Harshitha Samarawickrama clinched the Player of the Match for her outstanding and unbeaten knock of 69 hailing Sri Lanka to the victory with Nilakshi de Silva (41 off 38) against a refining 104-run partnership.

For the second game of the night, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka buckled themselves up for the toss where the former won and elected to bat first. Shamima Sultana and Murshida Khatun were on the crease to face the Sri Lankan bowling attack, spearheaded by Achini Kulasuriya. The first over was a significant one for Bangladesh with eight runs coming out of two boundaries from the bat of Sultana.

Unexpectedly, Khatun was dismissed hard at just a duck on the first ball by Oshadi Ranasinghe. Sultana, from the other end, continued the rain of runs with astounding boundaries which were contemplated well by the newcomer Sobhana Mostary with three back-to-back fours in the third over.

After the first early wicket of Khatun, Shamima (20 off just 13) too departed for the pavilion as Ranasinghe pumped the power back into the attack. The next round of runs was just a very quick revival of the wicket as Mostary and Nigar Sultana trotted down the wickets to continuously rotate the strikes and get the scoreboard going.

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But by the end of the tenth over, Chamari Athapaththu brought an end to the third-wicket partnership and Mostary was seen walking back into the dugout at a valuable 29 off 32 balls. This wicker got the Bangladesh batting into the backdrop as the innings seemed to trudge only with singles and doubles.

The pain was much coarse for Bangladesh with Nigar Sultana’s (28 off 34) and Lata Mondal’s (11 off 13) dismissal in the sixteenth over. And things started collapsing for the side as the seventeenth over saw some poor standards of communication between the wickets that cost Bangladesh Ritu Moni’s run-out.

Next in the queue was Shorna Akter (5 off 6) which was followed by a series of doubles and singles which further saw Nahida Akter’s wicket on the third ball of the last over. The much-awaited boundary came for Bangladesh on the last ball of the innings that too as a bye to conclude the scoreboard at 126 for the loss of 8.

As the second innings started, Jahanara Alam was ready with the new ball to deliver the first over to Harshitha Samarawickrama. The first over went much as poised. The in-form Sri Lanka skipper, Chamari Athapaththu looked set to kick off her innings with two back-to-back fours in the second over and a third in the next but couldn’t bat long as Marufa Akter stroke back into the attack.

Harshitha, from the other end, tried to shrug some pressure off with a much-needed boundary on the second ball of the fourth over. But Sri Lanka would have never thought of such a trembling start with Vishmi Gunaratne (1) and Anushka Sanjeewani (0) walking back into the pavilion at the end of the powerplay. What a spell by Akter! The Sri Lankan top order is back in the dugout.

Samarawickrama was incessant with her shots from one end knowing the conditions availing. With Nilakshi de Silva, the Sri Lankan innings seemed to be getting back in track with a constant show of good cricket that comprised fine running between the wickets and timely boundaries from Harshitha’s skillset. And the 50-run partnership came up in the thirteenth over.

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Shamima, in the fifteenth over, not only missed the stumping of the fiercely-in-touch Harshitha but missed the chance to get back into the match to restrict the Sri Lankan innings. What else was needed for Harshitha than to score her fifty with a late-cut boundary towards the deep third area that too on a no-ball? And here was Harshitha taking the utmost opportunity to launch the free-hit delivery into the stands for a six followed by a boundary in the same over.

With Nilakshi de Silva coming up and nearing the not-so-far target that brought a boundary each in seventeenth and eighteenth over. Harshitha finally brought the shutters down to the match with a boundary on the second ball of the nineteenth over as the winning runs.

ICC T20 World Cup 2023: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, Match 5 Brief Score

Bangladesh Women 126/8 in 20 overs (Sobhana Mostary 29; Oshadi Ranasinghe 3/23) lost to Sri Lanka Women 129/3 in 18.2 overs (Harshitha Madavi 69*, Nilakshi de Silva 41*; Marufa Akter 3/23) by 7 wickets.

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