Pakistan and Sri Lanka battled it out for pride in the 28th and final group stage match of the ICC Women’s World Cup at Grace Road, Leicester, on Saturday. Both teams gave it their all but in the end it was Sri Lanka who emerged victorious by just 15 runs in a low scoring thriller. Sri Lanka clinched their maiden victory and gave their fans something to cheer about. Pakistan on the other hand will have to wait till the next ODI World Cup to register their first win since two editions.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first: The plan was simple, post a decent total and then restrict Pakistan’s feeble batting order in order to win the match. Their plan got dented early on when Diana Baig struck in the first over of the match. Baig made perfect use of the conditions, swung the ball and bowled a consistent line and length in her first spell of 5 overs to end with figures of 2 for 20. Sri Lanka’s innings was teetering at 98 for 5 after 26 overs, Pakistan were looking set to restrict them under 150 but Dilani Manodara (84 off 111) had other plans. She built a crucial sixth wicket partnership of 76 runs with Eshani Lokusuriyage (28 off 45), taking her team to a fighting total of 221 for seven from the given 50 overs. Pakistan failed miserably to capitalize on the start they had gotten; sadly this has been their story throughout the World Cup. The target of 222 proved to be a stiff one for Pakistan, despite a fighting effort they fell short by 16 runs. Bibi Nahida and Ayehsa Zafar failed to provide a steady start, both fell within 15 overs. Javeria Khan smacked five fours in her short-lived stay at the crease, she was run-out by Siriwardena (who was playing her 100th ODI). Veteran batter Nain Abidi’s almost run a ball half century went in vain, the pressure kept on mounting as wickets were tumbling at regular intervals. Nain Abidi (run-out) and Sana Mir were dismissed within two overs of each other. Chandima Gunaratne’s career best figures of 4 for 41 proved to be a match winning one. Pacer Asmavia Iqbal’s brave cameo of 38* brought life back into the match but she kept on running out of partners. In the end Pakistan were all out for 206.
Pakistan ended their tournament just like they started it: they almost won against South Africa in the tournament opener and today they almost won against Sri Lanka in the last match of their campaign. Sri Lanka on the other hand at least managed to end their disastrous World Cup campaign on a high note.
Pakistan v Sri Lanka ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 Full Match Highlights
After 26 overs Sri Lanka were teetering at 98 for 5 when Dilani Manodara’s persistence came to the rescue. Manodara along with Eshani Lokusuriyage built a crucial sixth wicket partnership of 76 runs. Manodara scored bulk of the runs, she hit ten fours in the process and stole singles and two’s at will, taking advantage of Pakistan’s sloppy fielding. She took the score to 207 before giving her wicket to Diana Baig. This was Mandodara’s highest ODI score and also her second half-century of the tournament.
Before this match Gunaratne had never picked up more than one wicket in an ODI, by the end of this match, she picked up four and was rightly chosen as player of the match as well. The left-arm spinner played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka’s thrilling maiden victory at this edition of the World Cup. Gunaratne picked up both openers (Nahida Khan and Ayesha Zafar) within fifteen overs, later she dismissed captain Sana Mir (one of Pakistan’s in-form batters) and tail-ender Sidra Nawaz.
Chandima Gunaratne dismisses Pakistan’s captain Sana Mir