India v Sri Lanka, Women's World Cup 2013, Mumbai February 5, 2013

Siriwardene 'seriously super happy' with progress


Sri Lanka captain Shashikala Siriwardene and Player of the Match Deepika Rasangika's press conference was delayed by several minutes. When President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to call, you wait. The conference began eventually with the President's call expected any minute, and Siriwardene, a calm character not easily given to hyperbole, calling Sri Lanka's qualification to the Super Six the biggest achievement of her career.

"I can't believe it actually," Siriwardene said. "It is a dream come true for us. We finished last in [the] 2009 [World Cup] under my captaincy. So I am really relaxed and relieved. I got a call from my home and they are really excited. This is a special match that they have seen live.

"Yes, it is [my biggest achievement]. I am seriously super happy. This could be my last World Cup, and I wanted to do something special for the team."

There were quite a few firsts for Sri Lanka today. Not only was it the first time they have made the Super Six stage at the World Cup, it was also the first time they beat India, four days after defeating England for the first time. It was also their first day-night ODI, according to Siriwardene.

Making the occasion memorable was Rasangika, 29, who went into the match with an ODI batting average of 12, and not much to go on apart from a reputation as one of Sri Lanka's best fielders. She was promoted to No. 3 and ended up swinging her way to a match-winning 84. Siriwardene said the side had discussed the change before the match after crashing to a 209-run defeat to West Indies two days ago.

"We did not field well against West Indies," Siriwardene said. "We wanted to move to players who are good fielders and left-arm spinners. We had to remove No. 3 batter Prasadani [Weerakkody]. The coach and management talked about it and we wanted to promote Rasangika. She had batted really well in the domestic season at No. 3."

Siriwardene hoped there would be more support for Sri Lanka from the sparse crowds that have been attending the matches at Brabourne Stadium, now that hosts India had been knocked out. "We are the only team from Asia to have qualified for the Super Six. So I think more people from India will like us winning [from] now [on]."

In the run-up to the tournament, Sri Lanka had generated probably the least excitement among the media and fans. Indeed, in the pre-tournament press conference on January 27, Siriwardene had been asked hardly any question, apart from how she felt to have been born on Valentine's Day.

There was no shortage of questions today, though. Only, the press conference had to be cut short abruptly, as Mr Aroos, the team manager, walked in. "Sorry, but it is the President calling," Aroos said. You don't keep Mr President waiting.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vinod on February 6, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    hats off to them!!! they were absolutely fantastic against England and now India. good luck to them in the rest of the journey.

  • Denham on February 6, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    My fellow Sri Lankans, yes we are proud of our Lionesses but please refrain from making unwanted remarks about our men's team. They've done us proud on many an occasions and we've backed them in think and thin. They are the only team to have reached a no of finals in major tournaments, isn't that more than enough to be proud of them? Come on, this is not the Sri Lankans that the world know about? We are an accommodative Nation for God's sake,.

  • sleepybear on February 6, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    wonderful effort from the SriLankan girls :) congratulations! lets go all the way!!

  • mark on February 6, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    WEll don SL gals, congratulation!!!you have made this tournament interesting and everyone now started talking about women's cricket & WC ......excellent performance after heavy defeat against WI and u came back strongly against good Indian side and turn all tables upside down....already SL have super star performer.. Kaushalya Lokusuriya and Cpt Shashikala .. good contribution by every one in the team..this will boost women's criket in SL... IT IS NOT ONLY YOU HAVE BROUGHT SL WOMEN'S CRICKET INTO MUCH ATTENSION OF THE WORLD, BUT ALSO THE BEAUTIFUL SRI LANKAN SMILES INTO THE CRICKETING WORLD.....WOW that's the latest addition to the International cricket from this little tiny Island of Sri Lanka...!!!!


  • Mohamed on February 6, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    I wathced every single ball of the match and it was fasinating to how much women cricket has improved. As a Sri Lankan I am proud of what the team had done and wishes good luck for the tournament win. Always smiley Captain Smiley Shashikala aggressive Kaushalya and icecooled Rasangika are the best comprising spirited team. Bad luck for India...... though they deserved to be in the Tournament. ............we are starting to love women cricket. Hope ICC do more FTPs including a T20 for women.

  • Shamalka on February 6, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    Loving the every bit of it! Amazing feeling!

  • Sam on February 6, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    Good luck to the SL women. Underdogs beating the favorites is always a good story and SL women have done it twice - once in a do or die game for both teams! They are the Cinderella team of this WC and this is good for the game of (Women's) Cricket indeed! (Unfortunately, the ESPNcricinfo video died here in the US after the first 5 overs of the match.)

  • C on February 6, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    Siriwardene can rest assured her team has one indian fan in me for sure. Now that India has been knocked out I hope Sri lanka wins. Sri Lanka is a lovely country and the people are so friendly and wellcoming the I enjoy going back there every time.

  • Sudath on February 5, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    Repeating the history is big possibility. Red carpets and motor car processions, bags of millions LKR to Shashikala and Kaushalyaa are being arranged. Some songs are written. Flags are hoisted. The nation from hereafter will follow every single delivery of cricket ball of the tournament. This is my gut feeling which has not dissapointed me over the years. I am psychic.