ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 Report Card: Sri Lanka

Results summary
Lost to New Zealand by 9 wickets
Lost to Australia by 8 wickets
Lost to England by 7 wickets
Lost to India by 16 runs
Lost to West Indies by 47 runs
Lost to South Africa by 8 wickets
Beat Pakistan by 15 runs

What went wrong?
Qualifying for the semi-finals was always going to be a tough ask. The team’s form in the ICC Women’s Championship was poor, as it registered just two wins in 21 games, and struggled to build on a promising showing at the 2013 ICC World Cup. A nine-wicket defeat against New Zealand in its first game demonstrated the scale of the task ahead, and three more defeats confirmed Sri Lanka’s elimination at the earliest possible opportunity. Perhaps most disappointing will be the loss against West Indies, since both teams went into the game without a win in four and were out of contention, and Sri Lanka would have hoped to get one over the ICC World T20 champions.

Positives to take home?
One win from seven doesn’t sound like a lot, but that victory, a thriller in the final group game against Pakistan, was the least Sri Lanka deserved after a campaign that showed the team to be on an upward path. It is the attitude the players showed that will buoy them more than anything, as the team refused to be cowed by superior opposition or stiff totals, always willing to have a go and coming close to a couple of upsets. Sri Lanka ran India close, falling just 17 runs short of chasing 233, while against Australia, Chamari Athapaththu’s record-smashing unbeaten 178 – the best innings in the history of the women’s game according to some pundits – meant the world champions had to complete the highest chase in World Cup history to avoid a slip-up.

Areas for improvement?
Most of Sri Lanka’s struggles came in the bowling department. Only against South Africa, when the Sri Lankans made just 101, did the team truly fail with the bat, scoring at least 180 in all its other innings and crossing 200 in four of them. But on four occasions Sri Lanka’s bowlers took three or fewer wickets, meaning good work with bat in hand often went wasted. There were many bright spots for Sri Lanka, but an inability to put together a complete performance against one of the best sides ultimately cost it a major scalp to add to those of England and India that they claimed at the 2013 ICC World Cup.

Overall grade