DAMBULLA: Skipper Chamari Athapaththu struck a counter-attacking, unbeaten 80 off just 48 deliveries as Sri Lanka outplayed India by seven wickets in the third and final T20I here on Monday to avoid a whitewash.
The 32-year-old Chamari smashed 14 fours and one six and in the process, became the first woman cricketer from the island nation to get to the 2,000-run mark in T20Is. Chasing a modest 139, the Sri Lanka batters finally came good as the host hunted down the target with three overs to spare.
The three-match T20I series thus ended 2-1 in favour of India, which stuttered before skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s 39 not out (33 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) propped up its total to 138 for five. In reply, Sri Lanka lost Vishmi Gunaratne (5) in the first over, but Harshitha Madavi (13) gave support to Chamari before being dismissed by Radha Yadav (1/41).
Nilakshi de Silva (30 off 28 balls, 4 fours) then joined hands with Chamari as the skipper cruised to a 29-ball fifty – the fastest half-century for Sri Lanka in women’s T20I. Luck was on her side as Chamari got a reprieve on 42 when Jemimah Rodrigues missed a catch near the mid-wicket boundary. She soon slammed back-to-back fours en route to her fifth T20I fifty.
Earlier, India stuttered in the middle overs after Smriti Mandhana (22 off 21 balls, 3 fours) and Sabbhineni Meghana (22 off 26 balls, 3 fours) departed in successive overs to leave the visitor reeling at 51 for three. The duo looked well in control during their 41-run second-wicket partnership after Shafali Verma (5) fell in the opening over, but the run-rate dried up as the host bounced back with some fine fielding.
There was a lull in the middle when India failed to get a boundary in 38 deliveries with Harmanpreet and Jemimah struggling to get going. After Jemimah’s (33 off 30 balls, 3 fours) departure, Harmanpreet took charge and scored 49 runs along with Pooja Vastrakar (13 off 6 balls, 2 fours) in the final five overs.