Sophie Ecclestone and Alice Capsey help England overcome Sri Lanka to bag first win

Alice Capsey (L) and Sophie Ecclestone (R) © Getty Images

Sophie Ecclestone’s three-wicket haul and a sensible and well calculated knock from young Alice Capsey helped England overcome Sri Lanka’s challenge in their CWG opener as they bagged a five-wicket victory on Saturday (July 30) at Edgbaston.

The game started on a historic note for England as their bowling spearhead Katherine Brunt was presented with her 100th T20I cap by former England cricketer Isa Guha.

Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Athapaththu won the toss and chose to bat first – a decision that didn’t quite work in their favour. England were without their regular skipper in Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver got the opportunity to lead the team.

Filled with confidence, Brunt didn’t waste time in creating an impact on the game and struck with the first delivery of the match. She trapped Vishmi Gunaratne in front of the stumps and Sri Lanka were jolted early.

Gunaratne’s wicket brought Hasini Perera into the middle and both southpaws (Athapaththu and Perera) started rebuilding Sri Lanka’s innings. The duo played some attractive strokes and looked like building a strong foundation. But Perera fell in an attempt to up the ante and ended up handing a simple caught and bowled chance to Ecclestone.

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Perera’s dismissal hurt Sri Lanka but nine balls later they suffered the most lethal blow of the game as skipper Athapaththu was undone by a beauty from the left-arm seamer Freya Kemp. Kemp produced an unplayable delivery that clipped the top of Athapaththu’s off stump.

The pair of Kavisha Dilhari and Nilakshi de Silva showed some resistance but not for long as their 25-run partnership was brought to an end in the 12th over by none other than Kemp as she picked up Dilhari.

Dilhari’s wicket sealed the fate of Sri Lanka as they lost a cluster of wickets thereafter and ended up posting a mere 106 runs for the loss of nine wickets in their 20 overs. Ecclestone was the pick of all the England bowlers as she bagged a three-wicket haul in her four over spell.

Both England openers in Danielle Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley were driven to finish things early but it wasn’t meant to be as Oshadi Ranasinghe dismissed both batters within an interval of 13 balls.

Sri Lanka’s forte was on display in the game as Inoka Ranaweera also got into the act and bagged the key wickets of Sciver and wicket-keeper Amy Jones.

England looked in slight bother but the 17-year-old Alice Capsey played a knock filled with maturity to avoid any other major scare and helped Sciver’s side to clinch a comprehensive five-wicket victory. She got some good support from batter Maia Bouchier, who also played sensibly and remained unbeaten on 21.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 106/ 9 in 20 overs (Nilakshi de Silva 25; Sophie Ecclestone 3/25) lost to England 109/5 in 17.1 overs (Alice Capsey 44; Inoka Ranaweera 3/29) by five wickets