Sri Lanka Women pulled off a stunning three-wicket win over South Africa Women in the opening match of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023, on the back of a half-century from Chamari Athapaththu and miserly bowling figures for Inoka Ranaweera.

Hosts South Africa were restricted to 126 for 9, chasing 130 to win, with Sri Lanka’s spinners Ranaweera, Oshadhi Ranasinghe and Sugandika Kumari sharing the wickets and conceding just 66 runs in their collective 12 overs.

Though Sri Lanka’s preparation was less than ideal having last played a competitive Women’s T20 match in October last year, when they lost to India in the final of the Women’s Asia Cup, they held their nerve even as South Africa clawed their way back late in the game. 

Having needed 42 off the last four overs, South Africa captain Sune Luus and Sinalo Jafta brought the equation down to 20 off 12. 

Ranaweera then had Luus stumped for 28, before Jafta was run out two deliveries later, as the equation swung back in Sri Lanka’s favour with 13 needed off the last over. 

Kumari then conceded just five runs off the first five deliveries of the last over to ensure Sri Lanka would go on to beat the hosts, who were semi-finalists in the last World Cup in 2020. 

Luus was South Africa’s top scorer with 28, the only batter from her team to score in excess of 20. 

Ranaweera, who was last month named in the ICC Women’s T20 Team of the Year 2022, picked up three wickets for 18 runs. 

Earlier, Athapaththu hit 12 boundaries in her innings of 68, which came off 50 balls, and found a willing partner in 19-year-old Vishmi Gunaratne who scored 35 from 50 deliveries. 

Together, Athapaththu and Gunaratne put on 86 runs for the second wicket, a partnership that spanned 10 overs, and got Sri Lanka’s innings, that had been tottering on 28 for 1 in the seventh over, back on track.

Both batters were dismissed off consecutive deliveries in the 18th over, which hampered Sri Lanka’s charge to an above par score.

It proved just about enough however by the end of the game, as Sri Lanka’s spinners tightened their grip on the hosts and fashioning an unexpected opening win of the tournament.    


Sri Lanka Women 129 for 4 in 20 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 68, Vishmi Gunaratne 35, Marizanne Kapp 1/15, Shabnim Ismail 1/22, Nadine de Klerk 1/38)

South Africa Women 126 for 9 in 20 overs (Sune Luus 28, Laura Wolvaardt 18, Inoka Ranaweera 3/18, Oshadi Ranasinghe 2/20, Sugandika Kumari 2/28)

Source – Daily Mirror