All-round New Zealand too good for Sri Lanka; qualify for semis along with England from Group B

New Zealand celebrate a wicket © Getty Images

New Zealand put on a clinical show with the ball to defend a competitive total against a struggling Sri Lanka at Edgbaston to make it to the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games 2022 on Tuesday (July 2). That result meant, the hosts England have also qualified for the semi-final from the Group B. Whoever wins the clash between these two sides will top the table as both of them have been unbeaten from their first two matches.

Another Bates and Devine stand

Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates started from where they left in the South Africa game to add another fruitful opening partnership. With Sri Lanka opting to start with the off spin of Oshadi Ranasinghe, Devine hit her for two boundaries in the opening over. Bates joined her with a four in the next over and New Zealand finished on 41 at the end of the power play.

Although a six off Inoka Ranaweera took the partnership over the fifty mark, in an attempt to repeat the shot, Devine became the left-arm spinner’s first wicket with Kavisha Dilhari pulling off an excellent catch at long-on.

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Spinners rule the middle overs

Having gotten Devine’s wicket, Ranaweera had spring in her steps and got rid of the dangerous Amelia Kerr soon. Maddy Green fell to Ranasinghe with Anushka Sanjeewani taking a good catch behind the stumps and Bates also had to walk back in the same over after a sweep went wrong. Hayley Jensen didn’t last long either as Dilhari accounted for her even as Sanjeewani got lucky with the stumping.

From 89 for 5, Brooke Halliday and young Izzy Gaze led a small recovery as they added 31 runs for the sixth wicket. But it was Lea Tahuhu’s cameo that took the New Zealand score beyond 140.

Tahuhu started with a cut through point and then continued to pepper the leg side. Her eight-ball 20 not out meant New Zealand finished on 147 for 7 from the stipulated 20 overs. Bates was the top-scorer with 34.

For Sri Lanka, Ranaweera finished with figures of 3 for 30 while Ranasinghe picked up two wickets.

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Impressive Jensen

Jensen had a very good first game with the ball against South Africa and started well again here. She had Chamari Athapaththu trapped in front but was given not out on the field. Devine almost went for a review before deciding against it. However, that mistake didn’t cost them anything as Athapaththu tried to walk down the ground in the fourth ball of the over and was bowled for a duck.

Once they lost their skipper, Sri Lanka couldn’t get a move on in the power play and their innings came to a grinding halt with only 18 runs coming in the first six overs. They also lost young Vishmi Gunratne for just three in the process with Hannah Rowe accounting for her.

Post the power play, Jensen and Rowe combined to take out Hasini Perera. Jensen came back at the death to pick one more wicket to finish on 3 for 5 from her four overs.

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Nilakshi de Silva – the lone warrior

Harshitha Madavi didn’t last long either as she became Gaze’s first victim behind the stumps. When Dilhari became Eden Carson’s maiden international wicket, Sri Lanka were reeling at 32 for 5 in 8.4 overs.

Nilakshi de Silva did manage to hit three boundaries off Carson, but that was nowhere enough for the Island nation. The off-spinner ended the 24-run partnership for the sixth wicket as Ama Kanchana fell in the 13th over.

De Silva tried to play a few shots and after being given out incorrectly off Kerr, she took on the leg-spinner to hit her over long-on for a huge six. Despite her 36, Sri Lanka stood no chance in overhauling New Zealand’s total. De Silva eventually became Kerr’s first wicket as she was caught at mid-off by Green.

Although the lower order played a few shots and batted out the overs, it didn’t make any difference as Sri Lanka succumbed to a 45-run loss. With that result, they also exited the tournament in the group stage alongside South Africa.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 147/7 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 34, Sophie Devine 24; Inoka Ranaweera 3/30, Oshadi Ranasinghe 2/31) beat Sri Lanka 102/8 in 2o overs (Nilakshi de Silva 36; Hayley Jensen 3/5, Eden Carson 2/30)