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ICC T20 World Cup 2023: Sri Lanka Beat South Africa; Start The Campaign On A High Note

In a much more dramatic first match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2023, Sri Lanka registered a tight win by three runs against the hosts, South Africa. With only Luus shining in the match for South Africa, Sri Lankans showed some rare calibre of top-notch defence with only 129 runs on the board. Chamari Athapaththu was no doubt the Player of the Match for her outstanding 68-run knock.

Commencing the T20 World Cup on a positive note, the toss was won by the hosts, South Africa, who elected to field first. Two left-handers Harshitha Samarawickrama and Chamari Athapaththu walked down the crease to square off Shabnim Ismail getting ready with the new ball.

The first over saw a calm start for Sri Lanka where both the openers were off the mark with singles. And to revamp the maiden third over, Athapaththu opened up arms for a smooth first boundary of the T20 World Cup, which was complemented well by Harshitha as she scooped the third ball of the next over for a four.

The powerplay could only give 28 runs for no loss with the last over of the same getting two boundaries by Athapaththu. The yet-to-get-on-track partnership came to an end with Harshitha (8 off 20) retiring for the pavilion much early in the game as Nadine de Klerk stroke back with her first wicket of the tournament.

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Athapaththu kept the scoreboard running with timely boundaries in a stance to release pressure from the side. And in the course of some classic show of batting, three back-to-back fours took extra beauty to touch the ropes and bring much power to the Sri Lankan innings.

And Vishmi Gunaratne, coming at third, was no less a match for the fierce hitting as she smoked the ground with her incessant stroke of boundaries in the thirteenth over, showing a real aura of batting. It looked like she has just started enjoying the game.

Athapaththu was just the best at her performance this night with the pure stigma of wonderful batting although two of the three consecutive came around edged for boundaries. The scoreboard read 114 for 1 after 17 overs.

And the historical 86-run partnership came to an end finally as the experienced Marizanne Kapp bounced back to dismiss both the batters, two in two. Athapaththu looked in pure class with the bat knocking a memorable 68 runs off 50 balls.

Gunaratne walked off for 35 off 34 balls. With just 129 runs on the board after smashed-up innings in the midway, was something the Sri Lankan fans and the team itself couldn’t have imagined of.

Laura Wolvaardt and Taznim Brits were on the crease to chase down the total in the hope to register their first win in the world cup. The first over by Achini Kulasuriya could only transfer 3 runs to the South African account. Brits in the next over came up strong with a boundary and her second in the very next over.

Wolvaardt smashed Sugandika Kumari hard for a boundary in the fourth over but the building partnership gave way in the middle as Brits departed for just 12 off 18 balls in the fifth over. The powerplay summarized with Kapp’s boundary and a single by Wolvaardt to put an astonishing 38 on the board.

Kapp fell short to Inoka Ranaweera’s third ball of the eighth over, walking back to the dugout at 11 off 12 balls followed by Wolvaardt giving a top edge that was caught well behind the keeper by Ranasinghe.

Chloe Tryon was new in the show but much poised with her bat to smash the last ball of the eleventh over for a four and a second in the next over but she too couldn’t pull it longer than 10 runs.

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After some rare piece of running between the wickets by Sune Luus and Nadine de Klerk in the first fixture of the tournament, came the first maximum of the world cup from the bat of Luus. But the cheer was short-lived as Klerk departed on the third ball of the seventeenth over at just 7 off 11 balls.

Grasping the conditions well and the need to go past the target, Sinalo Jafta stood out well in the middle of the getting to be an interesting game with two boundaries in the eighteenth over but things looked to be more complex with Luus getting stumped by Sanjeewani on the third ball of the nineteenth over.

A four by Ismail just after Luus’ wicket shrugged some pressure off but it was again cloudy for the hosts with Jafta’s run-out at the keeper’s end. So much drama in the first game of the World Cup assured some really good performances in the tournament to come through.

South Africa needed 13 from 6 balls and some more of the drama was on the show with a double by Ismail followed by her run-out on the very next ball. And this wicket brought the conclusion of the first fixture of the T20 World Cup that restricted South Africa close to a win. Four on the last ball could only bring the hosts three runs behind the target.

ICC T20 World Cup 2023: South Africa vs Sri Lanka, Match 1 Brief Score

Sri Lanka 129/5 in 20 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 68, Vishmi Gunaratne 35; Marizanne Kapp 1-15) beat South Africa 126/9 in 20 overs (Sune Luus 28; Inoka Ranaweera 3-18, Oshadi Ranasinghe 2-20) by 3 runs.

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