After Austria captain Gandhali Tushar won the toss and decided to bat first, openers Andrea-Mae Zepeda and Busra UCA started cautiously by scoring 23 runs in the power play without losing any wicket. Italian bowlers were guilty of leaking too many extras in the power play as only 11 out of those 23 runs came from the bat.
Dishani Samarawickrama became the first Italian player to take an international wicket when wicket-keeper Sharon Withanage Andromida took a sharp catch to remove UCA for 15 in the 10th over. Zepeda then found a partner in captain Tushar as they took the team past fifty in the 12th over. The joy did not last for long as Tushar’s counterpart took a good catch at mid-wicket off Sewmini Kanankege to reduce Austria to 65 for two in the 15th over.
Some late hitting by Zepeda (33) and Harjivan Bhullar (13*) took Austria past 100, and they ended their first innings on 107 for three. For Italy, Kanankege, Peddrick and Samarawickrama took one wicket each.
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In reply, Austria’s Valentina Avdylaj struck in the first over to send Dilaisha Fernando back for a duck. Italy were close to losing the second wicket in the very next over because of a miscommunication between the two batters but the throw from the cover came at the wrong end and the crisis was avoided.
Andromida was not so lucky in the third over when Avdylaj came back and removed the wicket-keeper when she was adjudged LBW. After this drama in the first three overs, Italy were struggling at five for two and they desperately needed a solid partnership to win the game. Samarawickrama and Peddrick batted together for the next seven overs to give Italy the upper hand as they formed a partnership of 57 runs in just 42 balls.
Post Samarawickrama's retiring hurt in the tenth over, Peddrick took charge of the chase. She hit a marvellous pull shot against Anisha Nookala and a massive six over long-on to bring Italy’s 100 in the chase. She remained unbeaten on 47 as Teshani Araliya brought up the historic victory for the host nation by hitting a full toss off Avdylaj through covers.
The next match of the five-match series will be played on Tuesday (August 10) at the same venue.
Brief Score: Austria 107/3 in 20 overs (Andrea-Mae Zepeda 33, Busra Uca 15; Dishani Samarawickrama 1/14) lost to Italy 108/3 in 16.1 overs (Kumudu Peddrick 47*; Valentina Avdylaj 2/9) by eight wickets