Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Kiwi fielding effort polishes off Sri Lanka

Four run outs in 19 balls ended Sri Lanka's hopes of being able to bat through 50 overs against New Zealand today in the CricInfo Women's World Cup and the home team took a 122-run win.

Sri Lanka showed remarkable resilience to battle all the way both with ball and bat after a 200-run thumping at Australia's hands two days earlier.

New Zealand's batting was put through more of a test than might have been reasonably envisaged before the game.

If the home team had done their homework they should have been prepared for tight Sri Lankan bowling at the start of the innings.

Instead of playing out the two opening bowlers, New Zealand allowed themselves to get distracted and after 15 overs were 30/2 with no more satisfying moment for Sri Lanka than when Indika Kankanange caught and bowled the first lady of New Zealand cricket, Debbie Hockley, for 18 runs.

It was left to younger players Anna O'Leary and Haidee Tiffen to turn the innings around. In the longer term it should have been a useful experience for the players and for the side.

The lasting lesson for O'Leary and Tiffen to take from the 137-run stand they created was that positive running between the wickets can break up the field while keeping the score ticking over.

"It was a bit nerve-wracking to start with but once we got going it was great," O'Leary said.

"We had some trouble to start with because we hadn't batted together before. It is a hard balance, you want to get runs but not be too crazy about it. We had to be patient.

"We set ourselves 210 once we were out there so we were quite thrilled to get it.

"Sri Lanka bowled really well, but the difference for them is that their bowlers sling the ball so it goes along the track where our bowlers bowl into the track.

"The ball was coming on so slow you had to make the pace yourself," she said.

The final total could have been greater but the Sri Lankans were not put under as much pressure as might have been the case had quicker running between the wickets, both for singles and for twos, been applied.

At the same time it has to be acknowledged that the Sri Lankans lifted their game considerably after their first round loss to Australia. They were supportive of each other in the field and made more use of sweepers to protect the mid-wicket and cover boundaries.

Both Tiffen (58) and O'Leary (91no) achieved their highest scores in ODIs. O'Leary batted for 137 balls for her runs while the innings was given a boost by Rachel Pullar and Nicola Payne who marked her recall to the New Zealand team with 19 runs from 12 balls, including a last ball six.

Sri Lanka chose the tactic of moving its bowlers around and used eight bowlers with India Kankanange taking 1-27 from her 10 overs. The only other bowler to complete 10 was Chamani Seneviratne.

When bowling, New Zealand was always in control. Katrina Keenan took 2-17 from her 10 overs while Haidee Tiffen took 2-21. And some sharp fielding absolutely destroyed the Sri Lankan lower order with the four run outs.

Catherine Campbell, who led the team for the second time, was delighted with the batting recovery.

"We got ourselves out of a tight situation. It was a great partnership between Anna and Haidee. They both scored their first 50s. Sri Lanka had some excellent fielders and I thought our batters weighted the ball and placed it quite well.

"We bowled much better than we did in the Ireland game, it was a better all-round performance.

"Our priority was to get two points for the win," she said.