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Vishal Dikshit in Mumbai
February 8, 2013
After completing their third convincing win in four matches, New Zealand captain Suzie Bates said that she expected a 'really tough game' against Sri Lanka, who have beaten defending champions England and India in the tournament. On Friday, though, they were dismissed for 103 after being unable to cope with the New Zealand attack in helpful conditions
"We came out and we expected a really tough game against an improved Sri Lankan side," Bates said. "After we won the toss today, it was difficult [for them] in the morning in varying conditions first up. We got early wickets which put them on the back foot. It was easier than we had perhaps planned for, so we are really happy with the win."
Her bowlers made the most of the toss and Lea Tahuhu, who recorded her career-best figures of 4 for 27, was happy to bowl first and exploit the conditions which never allowed Sri Lanka to get a grip on the game.
"It was a really nice pitch to bowl on to be honest, especially after winning the toss. There was a bit of swing and it was really nice to get those figures," Tahuhu said with a smile sitting with the Player of the Match award.
There were contrasting emotions for Sri Lanka captain Shashikala Siriwardene who admitted the team's eight-wicket loss stemmed from being able to combat the early conditions. After being asked to bat in their first Super Six encounter, Sri Lanka were tottering on 23 for 4 at the end of the ten overs.
In their previous game, against India on Tuesday, Sri Lanka's top five had put together 258, nut against New Zealand that figure dropped to 55.
"We have done well whenever our top order has done something special," Siriwardene said. "Our top order has to do well, that is the main thing for the team. At last three out of four have to be in good form to get past the score of 200."
The conditions at the Bandra Kurla Complex were ideal for fast bowling in the morning. The sun had not shown itself completely, the pitch was moist and the ball was swinging around. Chamari Atapattu failed to open her account for nearly half an hour and Yasoda Mendis was clean bowled first ball by Tahuhu.
"We would have liked to bowl first," Siriwardene said. "It was a good pitch to bowl, especially for fast bowlers and we played with three fast bowlers. Once again, our top order failed so I think that's main reason for the loss.
"It's our first game here and they were really swinging the ball and we struggled. Gradually, Dilani [Manodara] and Sandamali [Dolawatte] built a good partnership but couldn't continue till the end."
Labelled as the underdogs before the World Cup started, Sri Lanka upset two big teams within their first three matches. However, despite New Zealand handing them their second big loss but that did not make Siriwardene question the team's ability.
"We knew that we always had that ability and potential but unfortunately we couldn't perform in the middle. That is the main problem we are having since 2005. We really wanted to fight well, play good cricket and show what we can do. Now, we have to continue with the things which are going well for us and come up with good performances again."
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