So that’s it from us here on Day 2 of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Although both Thailand and Sri Lanka, at various stages, did threaten to cause an upset, captains of West Indies and New Zealand, Stafanie Taylor and Sophie Devine, ensured that normalcy prevailed.
It’s England who will take on South Africa on Sunday (Feb 23) and that’s an interesting battle to watch out for. Hope you enjoyed our coverage as much as we did bringing it to you. This is S. Sudarshanan signing off! Adios, peeps!
Sophie Devine: "We knew we had to just stay patient. Chamari Atapattu put early pressure on us and played her shots. She also got away. The conditions here are bouncier than we're used to, but that's no excuse. Hayley Jensen adapted well and bowled wonderfully. We knew Amelia Kerr is good and she responds whenever we throw the ball to her. It seems as if captaincy gets the best of me. But we have got the likes of Suzie Bates, who also lead from the front. The advantage of having played in the WBBL is massive. We have good communication in the group as that's important. We need to start better with the ball and contain the batters at the start. Just being very disciplined with the ball and bat is vital. It's nice to be able to do the job. These contributions are going to help us go very deep in the tournament."
Chamari Atapattu: "We were very good in the first six overs. But unfortunately I got out and then our middle and lower order struggled. New Zealand did well to put pressure. We tried to our potential. Some players in our side can't hit sixes and so we tried to take twos. We dropped three catches and two of Sophie. So we couldn't stop her. I told my team to play positively. We will try to play our natural game freely. I think this wicket is good for batters. I love to play here. We should adapt quickly and look to win the next game."
Hayley Jensen is the chosen one for her three-fer: "Good to get the first win under the belt. Pitch was assisting the faster bowlers and a bit skiddy. We just knew it was a good pitch and a fast outfield. We just stayed calm and stuck to our plans. We just look at the conditions and go with the team that suits them."
It was yet again Sophie Devine, who has been at the forefront of a New Zealand win. She didn't get off to the best of starts, struggled to get the pace of the track at the start. But that's what she did pretty much during her stellar run in the WBBL. She then hit her sixth successive score over fifty, taking the side home with ease.
Sri Lanka shouldn't lose heart, though. They were in the game for quite some time. Their batting perhaps could have done better but bowlers did their best. Udeshika Prabodhani was stellar at the start. But the Lankans were sloppy in the field and did the heinous act of grassing Devine. There is hardly a recourse once the Kiwi is dropped, given her run of form. It will be interesting to see who the player of the match would be... Devine or Hayley Jensen?
New Zealand 131/3 in 17.4 overs, won by seven wickets.
11 runs come in just four balls of the 18th over as New Zealand romp home with 14 balls to spare. Sophie Devine got a four off her outer edge over the keeper, before guiding one through the gap between short third man and backward point to register the win.
New Zealand 119/3 in 16.5, need 9 more.
A little too late in the day but Chamari Atapattu breaks the 61-run stand and gets a wicket to her name. It took just 37 balls coming. Bowls a flatter one in line of the stumps, which Maddy Green missed in a bid to heave it over the on side. End of her 20-ball 29.
New Zealand 99/2 in 15 overs, need 29 more.
Sophie Devine may not have played a demolishing knock here, but this has been up there with the best. Her fifth successive half century and sixth successive 50+ score T20Is and this has taken 46 balls coming. What an innings this has been.
New Zealand 90/2 in 14 overs, need 38 in 36.
Maddy Green is walking the talk, racing away to a quick 24 off 14. At the other end, Sophie Devine is on 43 off 42, eyeing her sixth successive 50+ score. Chamari Atapattu has been taken for 17 in her two overs. Can Sri Lanka find a way to get back? This is New Zealand's game to lose...
New Zealand 58/2 in 10.5 overs, need 70 in 55.
The on-air commentators were comparing Kavisha Dilhari's bowling style, not action, to Afghanistan's Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Both use their fingers to spin the ball both ways, making life tough for the batters.
Dilhari did just that, bowling a carrom ball to deceive Suzie Bates. The Kiwi charged down to hit it over the on side, only for the ball to go off the outer half into the safe paunches of Chamari Atapattu at covers. Bates goes for 13.
New Zealand 35/1 in 8 overs, need 93 in 72.
In the form that Sophie Devine is, do you give her a life? Sri Lanka just did. Off Shashikala Siriwardene, Devine looked to go over long on. Ama Kanchana running backwards never looked comfortable under it and ended up fluffing the chance.
New Zealand 25/1 in 6 overs, need 103 in 84.
Sri Lanka are right in the game. After keeping the Kiwi openers quiet, which resulted in Rachael Priest's fall, Suzie Bates was given a life - perhaps the only blip by Sri Lanka so far. Achini Kulasooriya landed it on a length, Bates went for the cut. But it was too close to do so and she got a thick outside edge. But Harshitha Madavi at first slip grassed it. Bates is now on 1 with Sophie Devine on 16.
New Zealand 18/1 in 4.2 overs, need 110 in 94.
Yes. No. Gone! Rachel Priest patted one towards point off her back foot. Sophie Devine came charging for a run and Priest then responded after some hesitation. That bit was enough for Harshitha Madavi to swoop at the ball and score a direct hit at the bowler's end. Priest was well short and had to go for 6.
Later in the over, in their excitement, Sri Lanka opted for a review against Sophie Devine and lost it, because the ball pitched outside leg.
New Zealand 8/0 in 2 overs, need 120 more.
Udeshika Prabodhani bowled a decent first over, swinging the ball in to the right-handed batters. However, in the second over, Rachel Priest swept one through backward square leg for the first boundary.
Whenever Sri Lanka plays, all eyes are on Chamari Atapattu. She began very smoothly, hitting the Kiwis to all parts. She looked good for a big total and was completely in the game, cheering and encouraging all her partners from the other end. The disappointment showed on her face when she eventually fell for 41 in a very tame manner.
Hayley Jensen then got into the act picking three wickets. Amelia Kerr was impressive, too, picking up a couple of wickets, including the opening one to end the 60-run stand.
Given the way the track has played, it seems New Zealand should chase it down. But you never know with Sri Lanka and their spinners. Back shortly with the chase.
Nasser Hussain has a chat with Hayley Jensen, who picked up three wickets: "They got off to a flier, so good to pick up wickets at regular intervals. It's a good pitch and a fast outfield so difficult to keep the runs under control. Bowling cross seam paid off for me. I tried keeping it simple. Atapattu is a massive wicket for any team to get. Hopefully we can chase it down."
Sri Lanka 127/7 in 20 overs.
New Zealand have come back well, giving away just ten runs for a wicket in the last two overs. Hayley Jensen has been the star with three wickets.
Sri Lanka 117/6 in 18 overs.
New Zealand have managed to claw back in the game since Chamari Atapattu's fall. They have given away just 21 runs picking up four wickets in the process. Harshitha Madavi holds the key now for the Lankans...
Sri Lanka 100/4 in 14.5 overs.
Sophie Devine times her jump to perfection to send back Shashikala Siriwardene for a duck. The Sri Lankan flicked a Hayley Jensen ball aerially towards mid-wicket, where the Kiwi skipper did her thing.
Sri Lanka 99/3 in 14.1 overs.
Anushka Sanjeewani falls in a bid to up the ante. She gets a fullish ball from Hayley Jensen and looks to go over mid-off but fails to clear Suzie Bates, who took a smart catch running backwards. The Lankan wicketkeeper-batter walks back for 15.
Sri Lanka 87/2 in 11.5 overs.
Soft, soft dismissal for Chamari Atapattu, who is aghast with herself. It was a full ball by Lea Tahuhu, which Atapattu tried to dig out. But ended up chipping a catch back to the bowler. It was referred upstairs and replays made it clear that Atapattu's stay in the middle has to end for 41. Was one of those knocks which was joyful while it lasted.
It wouldn't be a shock if Atapattu was the highest run-scorer in the group stage or even the entire #T20WorldCup and Sri Lanka were still to miss the semi-finals.— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) February 22, 2020
Sri Lanka 61/1 in 8 overs.
Amelia Kerr's leg-spin gets New Zealand the breakthrough. Hasini Perera falls for 20, ending the 60-run opening stand.
Sri Lanka 51/0 in 6 overs.
Sri Lanka are off to a flier thanks to Chamari Atapattu and Hasini Perera. The last two overs have costed 21, with 11 coming off Sophie Devine's last over in the power play. Atapattu hit a massive six over deep extra cover on the last ball.
Sri Lanka 30/0 in 4 overs.
Jess Kerr's first over goes for 13, thanks to nine byes in that. Three boundaries came in the over and only one came off the bat. Hasini Perera scooped one over the keeper to take four to her tally. Sri Lanka are off to a flying start.
Sri Lanka 3/0 in 1 over.
Lea Tahuhu began proceedings for New Zealand with the ball. On the third ball, which was on a length, Hasini Perera smashed it towards point. Maddy Green quickly got to her right and plucked the catch. But the ball popped out as she landed. Early life for Perera. Will she make it count?
Charlotte Edwards says, "It's 29 degrees, lovely atmosphere to play cricket. The straight boundary is the longest. We might hopefully see a lot of sixes from Atapattu and Devine."
Ian Bishop looks at the pitch and says,"As a former fast bowler, I'm encouraged after looking at what the surface has on offer. The bowlers will get bounce and the spinners can also use it to their advantage by using the angled. The bowlers should aim to get some lateral movement as well. All in all a good wicket with something in it for everyone."
Heads is the call, tails it is. Sophie Devine says New Zealand will bowl first.
Sophie Devine: "I'm really excited. I'm leading a fantastic group and can't ask for more. Like everyone in this tourney, our aim is to win the competition. Each side brings in different element and we look to take on Sri Lanka today."
Chamari Atapattu: "Toss is not a problem. The team is already good after winning over 50-over champions England. Can see a lot of Sri Lankans here, we'll try and play positive cricket."
Hello everybody once again. Glad to have your company with us for the second game of the double-header. If you are still hungover from Thailand's fighting performance, you have more reasons to be hopeful now, with the prospect of watching Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates, Chamari Atapattu, et al in action.
Sri Lanka haven't really stage the T20 World Cup on fire, winning only four games so far in the event. New Zealand have one of the strongest units in the competition, one that potentially should help them make the last four. Today's all about getting the first points on the board, in this 'group of death'. Who will come out on top? We'll find out soon. This is S. Sudarshanan and I shall bring you all the updates about the game.