Harshitha Samarawickrama and Nilakshi de Silva's ice-cool hundred partnership steered Sri Lanka to a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh as they continued their winning start to the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023.
Sri Lanka were reduced to 26 for three in the Power-play but Samarawickrama's assured knock of 69 not out, coupled with De Silva's unbeaten 41 at the other end, ensured Chamari Athapaththu's side made it two wins in the space of three days at Newlands on Sunday night.
Bangladesh posted a total of 126 for eight as Oshadi Ranasinghe's fine spell of three for 23 restricted them to a below-par total. Laser-precise seamer Marufa Akter ripped through the Sri Lankan top order but Samarawickrama and De Silva steadied the ship to claim Sri Lanka's first-ever back-to-back wins at a Women's T20 World Cup and extend their impressive start in Group A.
Sri Lanka started the tournament with a bang when they defeated hosts South Africa in the opening match on Friday. On Sunday night, Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat in Cape Town -- but it was Sri Lanka who landed the first blow in dramatic fashion.
Opening batter Murshida Khatun was run out after facing just a single delivery from a fabulous direct hit from Inoka Ranaweera at short fine leg. Sobhana Mostary and wicketkeeper Shamima Sultana set about laying the foundations for the innings before Shamima was stumped by opposite number Anushka Sanjeewani off the bowling of Ranasinghe for 20.
That brought Bangladesh captain Nigar Sultana to the crease, who helped construct a patient partnership alongside No.3 Sobhana. But it ended inside the 10th over when Sobhana was bowled by Athapaththu for 29.
Bangladesh were struggling to manufacture any form of meaningful partnership and wickets continued to fall at regular intervals throughout the innings. Shamima succumbed to Ranasinghe for 28 before the off-spinner claimed her third victim by getting Lata Mondal stumped for 11.
That left Shamima's side with considerable work to do during the final five overs, but Shorna Akter, Ritu Moni and Nahida Akter were all dismissed cheaply to leave them with a total of 126 for eight at the halfway stage.
Sri Lanka may have fancied their chances setting out in pursuit of a chasable-looking target -- but Marufu had other ideas after being handed the ball by Shamima under the Cape Town lights.
The accurate seamer remarkably removed Athapaththu, Vishmi Gunaratne and Sanjeewani without conceding a single run in her spell, tearing through the Sri Lankan top order to leave them reeling at 26 for three inside the powerplay.
But that brought the composed duo of Samarawickrama and De Silva to the crease, who set about the recovery mission with alacrity and continued to chip away at the total.
And they showed no signs of letting their ever-increasing grip on the game slip, bringing up their hundred partnership in the 19th over and guiding their country to a historic second win on the spin at Newlands.
Bangladesh 126/8 in 20 overs (Sobhana Mostary 29, Nigar Sultana 28; Oshadi Ranasinghe 3-23, Chamari Athapaththu 2-19) lost to Sri Lanka 129/3 in 18.2 overs (Harshitha Samarawickrama 69 not out, Nilakshi de Silva 41 not out; Marufa Akter 3-23) by seven wickets