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Atapattu stars in Supernovas’ two-run win



Chamari Atapattu with a brilliant half-century and Radha Yadav, with her nerves of steel while defending 10 runs in the final over, starred in Supernovas’s narrow two-run victory in their must-win league encounter against Trailblazers to put their team in today’s final, against the same opponents.

The Sri Lankan gave Supernovas a flying start with the bat to set them up for a match-winning score of 146. Regular wickets in the middle overs halted the momentum of Trailblazers’ chase. And despite a spirited fightback in the form of a brisk fifty partnership between Deepti Sharma and Harleen Deol to revive their hopes, Radha snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by successfully defending ten off the final over.

What stood out in Supernovas’ flying start was how well Chamari Atapattu – known to prefer pace on the ball – tackled Trailblazers’ spin-heavy attack. The Sri Lankan skipper picked up right from where she left off in the last game, and hammered her maiden fifty of World T-20 Challenge. off just 37 balls. She unleashed the slog sweeps and lofts down the ground to make up for a quiet start to the powerplay, thanks to Jhulan Goswami’s first-two overs with the new-ball that yielded two runs combined.

Atapattu slammed three boundaries and a six off the two overs from Deepti Sharma in the powerplay, forcing Trailblazers to take her off the attack. Supernovas managed 50 without any loss in their first six overs, with Priya Punia’s contribution of only nine. Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad and off-spinner Salma Khatun were treated with similar disdain. While Punia struggled to find the gaps for the better part of her 37-ball stay, Atapattu shouldered the responsibility in the 89-run opening stand. Later, she even afforded Harmanpreet Kaur the time to get her eye in.

Harmanpreet only tagged along as Atapattu kept the assault from her end. However, once the Sri Lankan holed out to long-off, trying to up the ante, her captain stepped up and did it for the team. After working her way to a 19-ball 13, the Supernovas skipper took the attack to Harleen Deol, picking 15 runs off the penultimate over to set Supernovas up for a strong finish. She danced down the track and lofted the third ball over covers for a four and the fifth one well over a leaping Deandra Dottin at long-off, while getting a reprieve off the ball in between those two shots.

They did well to restrict Trailblazers for 144 to earn a hard fought two run win.

In a repeat on Monday, the same two teams will face-off in the final at Sharjah.

Brief Scores:


46/5 in 20 overs (Chamari Atapattu 67, Harmanpreet Kaur 31; Jhulan Goswami 1-17) beat Trailblazers 144/5 in 20 overs (Deepti Sharma 43*, Harleen Deol 27; Radha Yadav 2-30, Shakera Selman 2-34) by 2 runs.

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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.

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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.

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Sri Lanka add more spin options after first Test disaster



Maheesh Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage are likely to make their Test debuts in the series-deciding second Test in Galle.

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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