Because I have three businesses to run, I’m not able to go to every local match in the Women’s World Cup. Looking at the Bristol games in advance of the tournament, I decided not to bother with the Australia v Sri Lanka game. I expected the Aussies to win easily. I was so wrong. Yesterday Bristol produced a game that will go down in legend, and be talked about for decades to come.
Mostly I was right. 10 of the Sri Lanka team, plus extras, managed a measly total of 79 runs. But I had reckoned without Chamari Atapattu (full name, Atapattumudiyanselage Chamari Jayangani, but that’s way too much for white people to cope with). Her 178* lifted the Sri Lankan total to a very defensible 257. Along the way she hit 22 fours and 6 sixes.
Australia had to be at their best to get out of that. Fortunately in Meg Lanning they have probably the best batter in women’s cricket. Ably supported by Nicole Bolton (60) and Ellyse Perry (39*), her 152* powered the favorites to victory with six overs to spare.
In the past, women’s cricket has been notorious for relatively low scores. This tournament is putting an end to that. As far as I can see, there have only been two men’s one-day internationals where players on both sides have scored over 150. One was a match between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in Bulawayo in 2009 when Charles Coventry made 194* for the hosts only to see Tamin Iqbal (154) lead Bangladesh to victory. The other was the legendary 2006 match in Johannesburg when Ricky Ponting’s 164 helped Australia to a massive 434, only for it to be overhauled by South Africa for whom Herschelle Gibbs (175) was the top scorer.
Meanwhile in Taunton India thrashed an increasingly sad-looking West Indies. Only Haley Matthews (43) of the top order fired for the Caribbean side. Smitri Mandhana (106*) continued her fine form in guiding India to victory.
The tournament is taking a short break at the moment, but action will be resumed on Sunday when I, weather permitting, will get to see Australia take on New Zealand. Expect tweetage.