|ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, Group A, Perth (Waca):|
|Sri Lanka 122-6 (20 overs): Atapattu 50, Carey 2-18|
|Australia 123-5 (19.3 overs): Haynes 60, Lanning 41*, Prabodhani 2-17|
|Australia won by five wickets|
|Scorecard and tables|
Australia survived a scare to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets and claim their first win of the Women’s T20 World Cup.
Chasing 123, Australia were reduced to 10-3, with Alyssa Healy falling to the second ball of the innings in Perth.
A stand of 95 between Rachael Haynes (60) and captain Meg Lanning (41 not out) helped spare the defending champions’ blushes as they won with three balls remaining.
Sri Lanka made 122-6 with captain Chamari Atapattu getting 50.
After being stunned in their opening game by India, Australia were expected to breeze past Sri Lanka, but it was far from easy with the bat.
While Lanning and Haynes produced a fine recovery job – helped by negative field settings from Sri Lanka – they will know their batting is not where it needs to be.
They will likely need to win their next two games against Bangladesh and New Zealand to be sure of a place in the semi-finals.
Hosts wobble again before prevailing
Australia have dominated women’s cricket in recent years but they have not looked at all comfortable in this tournament.
It could be home pressure, and the expectation that they would ease to their fifth title in front of a full Melbourne Cricket Ground in the final on 8 March. Whatever it is, things have yet to click into place for the hosts.
Three wickets fell in 18 balls. Healy was bowled by a fine inswinger from Udeshika Prabodhani, before Ashleigh Gardner had her stumps rattled by a near-identical delivery.
The Waca fell silent as Beth Mooney was stumped but Lanning and Haynes, captain and vice-captain, masterminded a calm recovery.
Sri Lanka spread the field, burned their sole review on a tenuous caught behind appeal against Lanning, and dropped Haynes and Lanning on 26 and 33 respectively to hand the initiative back to the world number one side.
Haynes reached her half-century with a six as Australia took control of the run-rate and, although she fell with 18 runs still needed, the hosts were in a comfortable enough position.
Atapattu shines for Sri Lanka
Atapattu has long been the bedrock of Sri Lanka’s batting and, for a time, she had some solid company out in the middle.
The 18-year-old Umasha Thimeshani made an entertaining run-a-ball 20, targeting all-rounder Ellyse Perry in particular, while Anushka Sanjeewani mixed some haphazard running with aggressive shots.
However, Atapattu was the key. Two enormous sixes – one over the leg side, one over long-off – rattled Australia, and every shot the Sri Lankan captain played seemed to have such power behind it.
She celebrated her half-century with clenched fists and a swing of the arm, before shouting at Sanjeewani when the two collided mid-pitch and were almost run out.
Atapattu was furious to be dismissed, smashing her bat against her pad after she slapped Nicola Carey to the waiting fielder at extra cover, and without her, Sri Lanka stumbled.
From 91-2, they were only able to muster another 31 runs for the loss of four wickets, and it always felt as though they were just short of a winning total.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport