Australia cruise to win after Lanning, Villani fifties
Australia Women 125 for 1 (Lanning 56*, Villani 53*) beat Sri Lanka Women 123 for 8 (Manodara 38, Atapattu 38, Schutt 2-25, Beams 2-25) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani feasted on a toothless Sri Lanka Women attack to convert a tricky chase of 124 into a cakewalk as Australia Women revived their World T20 campaign with a nine-wicket win at the Feroze Shah Kotla in Delhi.
The match was set up by legspinner Kristen Beams and Jess Jonassen, the left-arm spinner, who broke Sri Lanka's back with the wickets of Dilani Manodara and Chamari Atapattu, who made 38 apiece. Then, an unbroken second-wicket stand of 98 that was studded with two belligerent half-centuries studded Australia's dominance as they won with 14 balls to spare.
Sri Lanka opted to bat, but didn't help themselves by gifting wickets away on a platter after a platform was set by Atapattu and Manodara. The pair put together 75 off jut 61 balls as Sri Lanka's hopes of touching 140 received a boost, before the slow bowlers, who were flat and fast to begin with, found their bearings to stem the run flow.
Beams drew Manodara forward, only to deceive her in the air as a thin inside edge rattled into the stumps in the 11th over to give Australia brief respite. Then in her next over, she had Anushka Sanjeewani stumped as relief turned into delight for Australia. Atapattu's wicket completed the collapse as Sri Lanka, motoring along at 75 for 1 hit a road block at 93 for 4.
From there on, the innings was largely reduced to a struggle as the batsmen struggled to put bat to ball. Megan Schutt, was particularly impressive, as she brought out different variations of her cutters to pick up the wickets of Eshani Lokusuriyage and Prasadani Weerakkody to prevent a late onslaught. The last four overs yielded just 19 as Sri Lanka finished at least 15 short of what they looked set to get.
Australia's top order was blown away inside the first three overs in both their previous outings. But that had little bearing on their approach as Alyssa Healy and Villani came out playing shots. While Healy was bowled for 12 after being deceived by Inoka Ranaweera's left-arm spin, Lanning threw the bowlers off guard by improvising on the face of a largely one-dimensional attack that failed to create enough opportunities.
Eight boundaries in the first six overs gave Australia enough leg room to nurdle the bowling. But Lanning wasn't in the mood for charity as she kept Australia in fourth gear throughout, displaying ability to not just bring out the big shots but also use her wrists and delicate dabs to pinch runs at every opportunity. Lanning's effervescence seemed to rub off on Villani, whose belligerence left Sri Lanka with no answers, her fifty coming off just 36 balls, severely denting Sri Lanka's net run-rate and with it their aspirations of a berth in the final four.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo