Women’s T20 Challenge 2020
By Roscoe Thattil
Sri Lankan opening batter Chamari Atapattu starred with the bat for the Supernovas in the opening game of the Women’s T20 Challenge at Sharjah, but it wasn’t enough as the Velocity made a dramatic comeback late in the match to pull off a thrilling win with one ball to spare.
The Supernovas started off tamely after they were asked to bat first and their run rate was well below six runs per over at the half way stage of their innings. But the experienced duo of Atapattu and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur upped the ante in the second half of the innings before Atapattu fell for 44 which included two sixes and two fours. She was also the top scorer in the Supernovas innings.
Kaur held the innings together before she was dismissed for 31 in the 17th over before things went downhill for the Supernovas as they managed just 15 runs in the last 3.2 overs to end up with 126/8 in their allotted 20 overs.
The only other Sri Lankan involved in the tournament, former skipper Shashikala Siriwardene also chipped in with a useful 18 towards the latter part of the innings, while she was also expected to play a larger role with the ball for the Supernovas.
Siriwardene accounted for the big scalp of Indian batter Mithali Raj in the Supernovas defense of 126, as Velocity were staring down the barrel at 65/4 after 13 overs.
But a breathtaking partnership of 51 runs off 35 balls between South African Sune Luus(37*) and Sushma Verma(34) got Velocity back in the match, when Siriwardene was asked to bowl the final over with nine runs to get.
Luus managed to hold her nerve and struck two boundaries in the final over to take Velocity home by 5 wickets with one ball to spare.
126/8 (20) Chamath Atapattu 44, Harmanpreet Kaur 31, Shashikala Siriwardene 18, Ekta Bisht 3/22
129/5 (19.5) Sune Luus 37*, Sushma Verma 34, Ayabonga Khaka 2/27
Sri Lanka men’s and women’s teams ready to contest FIBA Asia Tournament
by a Special Sports Correspondent
The Sri Lanka Men’s and Women’s basketball teams took flight to Singapore on Tuesday for the FIBA Asia 3×3 Basketball tournament.
The two teams have been in preparation since April and are being coached by Ajith Kuruppu.
The men’s team has to first prove its worth against China and Tonga and one more team before qualifying for the main tournament. “It’s going to be a tough tournament, but the men’s and women’s teams have been practicing well. Our preparations were good and we want to make an impact at the tournament,” said Kuruppu. According to the Sri Lanka teams’ coach China will be a tough challenge in the men’s segment of the tournament.
“We’ve been gelling together as a team during training and the players have a good understanding when playing as a unit,” said Sri Lanka’s Mens’ Team skipper Shehan Fernando.
Sri Lanka’s women’s team has made a direct entry into the tournament. Sri Lanka Women’s team skipper Anjali Ekanayake said that the ranking of the players in the national 3×3 team is good. “These players have got much exposure playing in this format of the game. We’ve been focusing on nutrition and shooting over the past few months. Training went well for the tournament,” said Ekanayake.
Coach Kuruppu took this opportunity to thank Vaaj Fitness for sponsoring the two national teams to Singapore and for making their gym available for the players to do strength and conditioning training.
Chathurya, Dinara, Saajida, Vishmi advance to second round
ITF Junior Tennis Week 2 Tournament
Chathurya Nilaweera ousted India’s Dhanush Varma to reach the second round of the ITF Junior Tennis Week 2 Tournament continued at the SSC Tennis Courts on Tuesday.
Nilaweera was the only player in the boys’ category from Sri Lanka to advance from the first round as he beat Varma 6-2, 6-0.
In the girls’ category Dinara de Silva, Saajida Razick and Vishmi Serasinghe reached the second round when they won their respective first round matches on Monday.
Dinara beat Yu Ching Wang of Taipei 6-3, 7-6(4) and Razick beat Indian Anushka Bhola 6-1, 6-1, while Serasinghe ousted Wei Chiao-Chen also from Taipei 6-1, 6-1.
In the other matches Dinethya Dharmarathe, Dahamna Methnadi, Nesangi Hemakumara, Vinethya Dharmarathne and Gehansa Metnadi conceded first round defeats.
In the boys’ category Vichinthya Nilaweera, Methwan Wijemanne, Abdul Bashit Cader, Thilina Dissanayake and Zahid Zihar were eliminated in the first round.
The boys’ and girls’ second round matches will be played today.
The tournament which commenced on July 4 will culminate on Friday.
Sri Lanka add more spin options after first Test disaster
by Rex Clementine
Sri Lanka have taken some desperate measures leading up to the second Test against Australia in Galle by adding more spin options indicating that the team management and the selectors are willing to make wholesale changes after the pathetic performance in the first Test which they lost before lunch on day three.
Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya has been sent home after he failed to make an impact following the ten-wicket loss last week. In an inexperienced attack, the 25-year-old with 17 Test caps is the senior most bowler but he had got his lengths wrong in a game dominated by Australian spinners. Embuldeniya had struggled in Bangladesh as well and was dropped. Instead of letting him fight his way back, he was drafted into the first Test against Australia and it wasn’t surprising to see him failing to make an impact. Now with the series at stake, Sri Lanka have pressed the panic button.
Even if Dimuth Karunaratne’s side win the second Test, Australia will retain Warne-Murali Trophy since they are the holders having blanked Sri Lanka 2-0 in 2019.
Sri Lanka’s desperation is evident by the fact that they have recalled Maheesh Theekshana, who hasn’t played a First-Class game in four years. In fact, Army had been told not to consider Theekshana for the ongoing one-day competition to help him recover from niggles but suddenly he finds himself in the hot seat with a Test series at stake.
Uncapped Dunith Wellalage also has been added to the squad giving the left-arm spin option that has been taken away following the axing of Embuldeniya. Support left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama had tested positive for COVID.
Former captain Angelo Mathews who was in isolation after testing positive for COVID has returned a negative test and has rejoined the team.
Off-spinner Lakshitha Manasinghe is the third player to be added to the group. He had an impressive series against Australia ‘A’ too. It is expected that Wellalage will make his Test debut while the slot for the third spinner is a toss-up between Jeffrey Vandersay and Maheesh Theekshana. The leg-spinner was untidy in the opening Test and the more realistic option seems to be that Theekshana debuting alongside Wellalage.
Although three replacement spinners have been added, some wonder why Sri Lanka have not thought of some batting replacements. It was a pathetic display by the team in the second innings where they were shot out inside a session and faced only 22.3 overs.
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