Chamari Athapaththu’s unbeaten century leads Sri Lanka to first-ever ODI series win over New Zealand

Women’s T20 WC: Told youngsters don’t take any pressure on your shoulders, says Chamari Athapaththu / IANS

Galle, July 3 (IANS) Captain Chamari Athapaththu slammed an unbeaten 140 to lead Sri Lanka to their first-ever ODI series victory over New Zealand. By winning the third ODI by eight wickets via the DLS method at the Galle International Cricket Stadium on Monday, Sri Lanka have won the series 2-1.

In the match, rain arrived yet again, leaving New Zealand’s total at 127/2 in 31 overs. Electing to bat first, New Zealand lost Bernadine Bezuidenhout early and Amelia Kerr for 19. But Suzie Bates (63 not out off 87 balls) and captain Sophie Devine (38 not out off 48 balls) joined forces for rebuilding the innings.

The veteran pair added an unbroken 74 for the third wicket partnership, hitting five boundaries between themselves before a long interruption caused by rain brought their innings to an end.

When the rain finally stopped, Sri Lanka were handed a revised target of 196 in 29 overs. The hosts didn’t have the best of starts to the chase as Vishmi Gunaratne (0) and Harshitha Samarawickrama (3) fell in quick succession.

But Chamari Athapaththu, who scored a century at this venue against the White Ferns last week, launched a stunning counterattack, reaching her eighth ODI century in just 60 deliveries, which is also the fourth fastest hundred in women’s ODIs.

Overall, she slammed 13 fours and nine sixes at a strike rate of 175 in her aggressive knock of 140 not out to seal a historic win with eight wickets in hand and 13 balls to spare. Her nine sixes are joint most maximums hit in a women’s ODI innings. Interestingly, all women’s ODI hundreds from Sri Lanka have been hit by Athapaththu.

She also got support from all-rounder Nilakshi de Silva, who also hit an unbeaten 48, laced with five fours. The pair stitched a partnership of 190 runs for the third wicket, which is Sri Lanka’s highest-ever partnership in women’s ODIs.  
After this, New Zealand will play a practice match against SLC Board President’s XI on July 6. The three T20Is between New Zealand and Sri Lanka will happen at P. Sara Oval in Colombo hosting all games on July 8, 10 and 12.

Brief scores: 

Sri Lanka 196/2 in 26.5 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 140 not out, Nilakshi de Silva 48 not out; Lea Tahuhu 1-29, Sophie Devine 1-32) beat New Zealand 127/2 in 31 overs (Suzie Bates 63 not out, Sophie Devine 38 not out; Oshadi Ranasinghe 1-22) by eight wickets via DLS method.

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