Chamari Athapaththu signs off on T20 World Cup qualification in style with century

Star batter powers Sri Lanka to win in final against Scotland in Abu Dhabi, with both sides heading to main event in Bangladesh

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Chamari Athapaththu saved her best for last as Sri Lanka claimed the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier title in Abu Dhabi.

The master batter had been the star attraction at the 10-team event, which decided the final two places at the World Cup in Bangladesh later this year.

The final between Sri Lanka and Scotland was little more than a celebration for the two sides who had already won through to the main event.

It also proved to be the platform for Athapaththu to finally show her full repertoire, having otherwise gone easy on her opposition to this point.

The only other time she posted a half century in the tournament was also against the Scots, in the group phase.

Aside from that she barely registered scores of note against any of the UAE, US, Uganda or Thailand.

In the final, though, she showed why she is regarded as one of the leading limited-overs players in the world, as she blazed a century.

She was out in the last over of her side’s innings having made 102 from 63 balls to underpin their total of 169 for five. Her effort included four sixes and 13 fours.

She did enjoy some luck in the latter phase of her innings. An inside edge off Abtaha Maqsood’s leg spin when she was on 77 bounced back with some force into her stumps, and yet the bails stayed on.

Off the following delivery, she hoisted up a catch to the long on fielder, but it was missed.

Her onslaught put the game beyond the Scots, whose demeanour suggested they were not too perturbed by the result, given they had already achieved their primary aim on tour.

Scotland were also without their own star player for the final. Kathryn Bryce, who was named the player of the tournament, missed out after opting to not to risk aggravating a pre-existing strain any further.

In her absence, the Scots were unable to get anywhere near Sri Lanka’s total, succumbing to a 68-run loss after reaching 101 for seven in their 20 overs.

“It was good to get some time in the middle,” Athapaththu said.

“I just played my natural game freely, one ball at a time, see ball hit ball. It is simple. I have a good team with good management, so it is easy with these girls.

“I am a proud captain being part of this team. We have played really good cricket in the past couple of months, beating New Zealand on our home soil, England on their home soil, and even beat South Africa.

“We have had a good year, and we continued our good performance in this qualifier as well.”

Updated: May 08, 2024, 6:56 AM