England v Sri Lanka, Women's World Cup 2013, Mumbai February 1, 2013

Kaushalya sets up historic win for Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka Women 244 for 9 (Atapattu 62, Kaushalya 56) beat England Women 238 for 8 (Gunn 52, Jones 41) by one wicket
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Until today, Sri Lanka Women had never beaten any of the big four sides - Australia, England, India, and New Zealand. They chose to start with the biggest scalp of them all, on the biggest stage of them all. There have been some huge upsets in men's World Cup history, but a defending champion going down first match against one of the weakest teams has to rank on par, if not above them.

The powerfully-built seam-bowling allrounder Eshani Kaushalya set up a nerve-shredder of a last-ball result with an unrelenting assault, her strong forearms responding to her unshakeable belief, and drilling boundary after boundary past, and over, helpless England fielders. The match had been Sri Lanka's to lose, when they needed 97 runs to win with nine wickets remaining. But England, having already fought back earlier with the bat, were up for another scrap.

They started striking, and Sri Lanka, known for losing steam after promising openings, started falling apart. Even as her team-mates kept coming and going, Kaushalya, strapping shoulders and arms to match, took Sri Lanka closer. The asking-rate was already more than a run a ball when she came in at No. 6 with 82 more required. And it wasn't until her 11th delivery that she found the boundary, when she swung Hally Colvin to the deep midwicket rope. She was on 3 off 10 before the shot. She was to take 53 off her next 31.

A couple of straight sixes against the spinners arrived, followed by consecutive fours to wide long-off against Arran Brindle. In the same over, the 46th, Brindle took out Sri Lanka's seventh wicket. In the 47th, and her last, Katherine Brunt, the premier England fast bowler, conceded just four. The asking-rate had touched ten when Kaushalya exploded, taking 16 off the 48th bowled by Jenny Gunn. Gunn had top-scored for England with 52, but had put down Kaushalya on 10 at wide long-on in the 43rd over.

Kaushalya made Gunn pay dearly for that drop and some low full tosses. A misfield at mid-on produced three, and got Kaushalya on strike. She cracked three of the next four deliveries for fours, targetting wide long-off and extra cover again. With 13 needed off the final two overs, Sri Lanka were now ahead.

But the defending champions didn't give up. Danielle Hazell gave just four in the 49th, and took a wicket, leaving Sri Lanka to get nine off the last over. Kaushalya came on strike second ball, and promptly dispatched Georgia Elwiss over the deep square-leg rope. Kaushalya jumped for joy, and the celebrations had started in the Sri Lanka camp.

On the third ball, Kaushalya mishit high in the air and rushed for a single, only for the bowler to drop the catch close to the non-striker's stumps, and for England to put in a desperate, unsuccessful appeal for obstruction. In her own desperation to earn the remaining run needed for victory, Kaushalya charged up too far fourth ball and was run out for 56 off 41.

The wicketkeeper Dilani Manodara found backward point off the fifth ball as Charlotte Edwards ordered every England fielder inside the circle. With a tie looming, Manodara got a good length final delivery, sent it soaring over deep midwicket and went down screaming on her knees as her team-mates mobbed her.

Although Kaushalya and Manodara got them over the line, it wasn't to take away anything from the century-opening stand between Yasoda Mendis and Chamari Atapattu, the latter especially surprising England with an aggressive mindset from the beginning. Pulling, driving, sweeping, cutting, steering her way to 62 off 72, Atapattu brought the game alive again, after it seemed England had escaped to a challenging score. The stage was set for the captain Shashikala Siriwardene to be counted with a brisk 34, and for Kaushalya to perform the act of her career and overcome England's second fightback on the day.

The first had been necessitated when, after being asked to bat, England were stuttering at 29 for 3. Edwards had walked across to be bowled by Kaushalya, and Danielle Wyatt and Lydia Greenway had gone leg-before to the tossed-up deliveries of Chamani Seneviratna. Brindle and Heather Knight made thirties to steady things with several easy singles, helped by Siriwardene keeping three, largely idle fielders in the deep on the leg side.

A needless run-out ended that partnership and brought Gunn to the middle. Gunn and the keeper Amy Jones, debuting in place of the injured Sarah Taylor, pushed the score towards 200. England took 79 off the final seven overs, helped by some big hitting from Brunt and Hazell. The late push seemed to have given England enough cushion; Kaushalya was to push harder.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • LALITHKURUWITA on February 2, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    @CrICkeeet How come grade 8 England are the current World Champion. If you want to see grade 8 go and see IPL.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on February 2, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    Well Done SL girls. SL boys India in the first Wold Cup match in 79 then they won after 4 WCups they won WC in 96. Sl girls also can WC after another 4 WC's or before if you work hard.

  • dummy4fb on February 2, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Fantastic match, fantastic display of wonderful cricketing shots! The opener Ms Atapattu is stroking the ball better than TM Dilshan!!! Keep going, bring us the lost world cup, GIRLS YOU CAN DO IT, we are watching!!!

  • kalins on February 2, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    Great!!!! SL Men's team will provide support to them to become like them soon... We are proud to be LIONS!!!!

  • xylo on February 2, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    You only have to read through the commentary for this match to answer the questions raised by the women teams about receiving step-motherly treatment when compared to the men.

  • charithdasun on February 2, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    This is really what we wan't from our men's side. The real great fighting spirit Great courage shown by Eshani Kaushalya she & her team mates should have every credit very deservingly. The opener Chamari Attapatu looks clearly class above from all other SL batters. Well this is equally good as SL men team at their best or if not better Wish U All the Best SL girls

  • ramesh_rocks on February 2, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    It was very exciting game, Well done SriLanka. I want this WC to stay in subcontinent. Bset of luck Ind, Sri, Pak..

    @Nutcutlet- I am not sure if BCCI is doing anything for advertising women's WC but we can see many ads these days about WWC on Indian Tv channels.This is first time that many of us are watching women team playing cricket.

  • MilroyL.S.A.Don on February 2, 2013, 4:09 GMT

    These type of wins are good for Sri Lankan ladies cricket!!!!

  • dummy4fb on February 1, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    1st time i,ve watched SL women cricket match it,s awsome fight full action . good luck upcome matches and keep it up , well done.

  • Herath-UK on February 1, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    Well done Sri Lanka an amazing win!I'm sure this is going to be a huge turning point for the Sri Lankan Ladies as was the 1996 WC for the men. Ranil Herath - Kent

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