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It’s really huge, says Sri Lanka Women’s coach Rumesh Ratnayake after their T20I series win over England


Derby, Sep 7 (IANS) Sri Lanka women’s team coach Rumesh Ratnayake has termed his team’s T2OI series victory over England as “really huge” for women’s cricket in the island nation.

The Sri Lanka women made a comeback in the last two matches of the series, winning consecutively by seven and eight wickets after losing the first match and handing England their first T20I series loss by a side other than Australia since 2010.

The series victory followed Sri Lanka’s home 2-1 ODI victory against New Zealand in June and coincided with Pakistan’s 3-0 sweep of South Africa in their T20I series.

Talking to ESPNcricinfo after Saturday night’s victory, Rumesh Ratnayake said, “It’s really huge because when we left Sri Lankan shores, they didn’t think that we would do so well. Everybody thought maybe you might win one out of six. But I just told the girls that we are here not just to play and participate, we are here to win. I think it is going to be huge there. The awareness of girls playing and wanting to be people like Chamari (Athapaththu) and the likes would be huge.”

Chasing the target of 117 runs to win the match, skipper Chamari Athapaththu led by example and played an instrumental role in Sri Lanka sealing the series victory. She was brutal in hitting 44 off 28 deliveries which helped mow down another paltry target after England got all-out inside 20 overs. Athapaththu had also contributed with the ball, claiming 3 for 21 as England were all out for 116 in 19 overs.

Athapaththu has struck two unbeaten centuries and four half-centuries across white-ball formats in 2023.

Athapaththu was named Player of the Series for her terrific performance both with bat and ball — she scored 114 runs and took 5 wickets in the 3-match series.

Ratnayake praised Athapaththu’s contribution to the team and seemed impressed with the performance of other players.

Ratnayake said, “But our challenge is to win without her. I saw the others sort of stepping into it as well. We’ve got some good players, but to have another Chamari would be a freakish outcome in the future.

“That’s the way we play back home. Sometimes I keep Chamari with me and we play matches without her, and we see where we stand against good opposition, and that’s a challenge for the future. It’s working out well.”

“You’ll be surprised, even the smallest can hit sixes now. So we are there, but it’s a collective thing, it’s a cohesive thing where everybody gets together and works as a team,” said Ratnayake.

“We know where we can be, and we can see the picture and that’s how we are here and that’s what we came for. We spoke of playing cricket for moments like this, for tours like this,” he concluded.


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