Australia women thrash SL by nine wickets

Sri Lanka, who had been ruing its poor batting so far, got its best start in the tournament, but faltered later on while its bowling was made to flounder. Australia duly completed a comprehensive nine-wicket victory, overhauling the 124-run target with eight balls to spare.

Australia's captain Meg Lanning contributed 56 off 53 balls in an unbeaten partnership of 98 with Elyse Villani.   -  Sandeep Saxena

It isn't for nothing that the Australian women have lifted the World T20 trophy thrice in four editions so far. The defending champion knows not only when to up its game but can also conduct a lesson on how to tighten the screws on the opposition with no quarters given.

Having never lost to Sri Lanka in international cricket, there was little chance of it happening here on Thursday. And the Southern Stars duly completed a comprehensive nine-wicket victory, overhauling the 124-run target with eight balls to spare. Sri Lanka, who had been ruing its poor batting so far, got its best start in the tournament, but faltered later on while its bowling was made to flounder.

Opener Elyse Villani was the star of the chase with nine hits to the boundary in her 39-ball 53, all of them copybook shots through cover. The official statistics put the entire quota of her runs having come off the middle – no edges and no half-chances in the field. The result not only helped the team climb to second spot in Group A but also improve its run rate.

Villani and captain Meg Lanning sealed the win with an unbeaten 98-run partnership after Villani and Alyssa Healy had given a flying start. Healy was bowled trying to hit a second consecutive four off Inoka Ranaweera and missing the line for 12. But with a boundary in every over of the Powerplay, Australia had raced to 40 in the first six. Its complete domination can be gauged from the fact that there were just four overs that did not yield a boundary. Lanning's 53-ball 56 was the perfect foil for the free-stroking Villani.

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Sri Lanka didn't have the best of starts, losing experienced Yashoda Mendis second ball of the innings with the team yet to open its scoring, but Dilani Manodara and captain Chamari Atapattu ensured there would be no slacking of run-rate. The duo put on a 75-run partnership in 10 overs, stroking cleanly and finding the gaps before Dilani dragged one from Kristine Beams to her leg stump for a 35-ball 38.

That was the only time Sri Lanka looked in control of its game and once the partnership was broken, the team did not recover. Anushka Sanjeewani was stumped in Beam's next over and four balls later, Chamari departed for 38 in a manner similar to Dilani. The door had been prised open and the Australians took full advantage of it.

The scores: Sri Lanka Women 123 for eight in 20 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 38, Dilani Manodara 38; Megan Schutt two for 25, Kristen Beams two for 25) lost to Australia Women 125 for one in 18.4 overs (Elyse Villani not out 53, Meg Lanning not out 56) by nine wickets.