Sri Lanka stun England

Eshani Kaushalya smashed 56 off 41 deliveries to help Sri Lanka to a famous victory.
Eshani Kaushalya smashed 56 off 41 deliveries to help Sri Lanka to a famous victory.

MUMBAI – England’s ICC Women’s World Cup campaign got off to a disappointing start as they suffered a thrilling one-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in Mumbai today.

A half-century from Eshani Kaushalya and 62 from Chamari Atapattu saw Sri Lanka pass their target of 239 off the final ball.Openers Atapattu and Yasoda Mendis (46) had got Sri Lanka off to the ideal start with a century stand – and although England’s bowlers turned the screw in the middle overs Kaushalya then saw them home.

Arran Brindle, Georgia Elwiss and Katherine Brunt took two wickets apiece to give England hope, however Kaushalya remained defiant.She finished on 56 off of 41 deliveries, with a towering six off Elwiss in the final over finally tipping the balance. And although Kaushalya was run out going for the winning run when the scores were tied, Dilani Manodara smashed the last delivery over the rope.

Earlier Jenny Gunn had scored 52 for the defending champions England as they recovered from a shaky start to post 238-8.

Chamani Seneviratna had struck twice in her first four overs as England slipped to 29-3, before Heather Knight (38) and Brindle (31) added 64 for the fourth wicket.When they fell in quick succession, Gunn teamed up with 19-year-old debutant Amy Jones (41) in a stand of 83 to ensure the favourites recorded a decent total.

And, a century from middle-order batsman Sophie Devine and a half-century from captain Suzie Bates was backed up by a combined bowling effort as New Zealand defeated South Africa by 151 runs in Cuttack. The strong total of 321 was built round the third-wicket stand of 128 between Bates and Devine, and a 101-run stand off 43 deliveries for the fifth wicket between Devine and Nicola Browne. South Africa, in reply, lost wickets regularly, and no one scored more than 37 as they capitulated for 170.

South Africa’s openers were dismissed by the sixth over, and they couldn’t recover. Seamer Morna Nielsen and Lea Tahuhu destroyed the top order, and South Africa slumped to 82 for 7 in the 21st over. Susan Benade and Shabnim Ismail tried to rescue South Africa, adding 72 runs in quick time, but left-arm seamer Sian Ruck, who finished with four wickets, mopped up the tail.

New Zealand’s bowlers had the cushion provided by commanding batting from their batsmen. Although openers Lucy Doolan and Lucy Satterthwaite were dismissed quickly, the middle order responded soundly. Devine, who struck 13 fours and six sixes in her knock of 145, off 131 balls, saw her side through to the end of the innings.Meanwhile a strong bowling performance, led by seamer Sarah Coyte, helped Australia beat Pakistan by 91 runs in a Group B match also in Cuttack.

Set a target of 176, Pakistan’s batting order crumbled as only two batsmen had scores in double figures. Bismah Maroof was the only batsman to resist the Australian bowlers, scoring 43 of her team’s 84 runs. Coyte took three wickets, and was ably supported by medium pacers Ellyse Perry, Holly Ferling and offspinner Lisa Sthalekar, who all took two wickets apiece.

Having chosen to bat, Australia did not get off to the best start, losing wickets regularly. A third-wicket partnership of 44 runs between opener Rachael Haynes and Alex Blackwell stabilised the innings a little before Blackwell was dismissed by Asmavia Iqbal. Coyte then added 45 important runs for the seventh-wicket with Sthalekar (32) and remained unbeaten on 35. (Cricinfo)†

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