U23 Cricket: Sri Lanka Women stunned by Bangladesh in final, but Men remain on track for Gold

13th South Asian Games

Monday, 9 December 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



By Naushad Amit in Nepal

With an unbeaten record, the Sri Lanka Men’s Under-23 cricket team effortlessly booked a berth in the final for the gold medal, though the Women’s side suffered a shock two-run defeat and had to settle for Silver on the eighth day of the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal yesterday. 

At Pokhara, the experienced Sri Lanka women cricketers had to eat humble pie, as they were stunned by Bangladesh women, who managed to defend a 92-run target in a low-scoring affair, as they snatched Gold. 

Electing to bat first, Bangladesh failed to post a decent total as offspinner Umesha Thimashini rattled the opponent’s batting lineup with four scalps to curtail them to 91/8 in 20 overs. Sathya Sandeepani, Tharika Sewwandi, Kavisha Dilhari and Malsha Ranatunga offered good support to claim a wicket each, as Nisar Sultan played a stubborn knock to remain unbeaten on 29 off 38 deliveries, an innings that included two fours and a six.

Returning to chase a seemingly easy target, the Lankan lasses were taken out of their comfort zone as they started losing wickets at regular intervals and were left reeling at 30/4 at one stage. The target was still achievable with skipper and wicketkeeper Harshitha Samarawickrama anchoring one end, but her dismissal with to score on 53 put the team on the defense. Samarawickrama hit 32 off 33 deliveries with four boundaries. Despite the useful knock of middle-order bat Lihini Apsara, who hit 25 off 28m - inclusive of two boundaries - the rest of the batters failed to deliver the goods, as Sri Lanka finished on 89/9, two runs short of the victory target, at the end of their 20 overs ended. Left-arm spinner Nahida Akther, who played a key containment role and claimed two wickets, was named the player of the match.

The men’s team had considerably better luck, registering a comfortable nine wicket win against Bangladesh Under-23s in the final first round match, played at the Thibuvendra University ground in Kathmandu. The two sides will meet again in the gold medal match today at the same venue, at 1.00pm local time, after Sri Lanka U-23s remained unbeaten in their four matches to top the table, while Bangladesh U-23s are in the second place with a loss and three wins.

Yesterday Sri Lanka U-23s staked their claim to a potential cricket Gold in a very convincing manner as they curtailed the opponents to 150-6 after winning the toss and, raced to victory with 23 deliveries to spare and for the loss of just a solitary wicket.

The Bangladesh U-23s could not cope up on a slow, turning wicket, and had lost three quick wickets with just 21 runs on the board. But a useful 80-run partnership between Mahidul Islam and Yasir Ali for the fourth wicket put them back on track for a respectable total, as Ali smashed a 45-ball 51 (five boundaries and a six) and Islam clobbered 44 off 38 balls (four boundaries and two sixes) before they were both dismissed in quick succession. 

For Sri Lanka, paceman Asitha Fernando picked up two wickets while Kavishka Anjula, Jehan Daniel and Sammu Ashan claimed a wicket each.  

Sri Lanka lost the wicket of opener Nishan Madushka at 17, but a 134-run stand between opener Pathum Nissanka and Lasith Croosepulle helped Sri Lanka take command of the chase, in a partnership that made it look as if they were batting on tarmac. When Sri Lanka scored the winning runs Nissanka was unbeaten on 67 off 52 balls (five fours and three sixes), while Croosepulle faced just 41 deliveries for an enterprising knock of 73 not out, hitting seven fours and four sixes in the process. Bangladesh used seven bowlers, but to no avail.

SL stay third in medals ranking

Meanwhile in other sports, the wrestling team added six silver medals and a bronze medal to their tally as Sri Lanka remain in third position with 31 Gold, 59 Silver and 87 Bronze medals, behind table leaders India and hosts Nepal. 

Sri Lanka won Silver in the Women’s 76kg, Men’s 70kg, Men’s 79kg, Women’s 50kg, Men’s 57kg and Men’s 65kg categories and the bronze medal came in the Women’s 53kg category.

In Weightlifting, W.P.U. Charuka won a silver medal in the Senior Men’s +109kg weight class with a total lift of 320kg. He lifted 140kgs in Snatch, and in Clean and Jerk he achieved 180kgs to finish behind Pakistan’s Muhammad Noor, who won the gold medal. D.D.F. Herby, M.K.K. Wanasinghe and D.D.K. Arawwalage finished with 1588-29x to claim Bronze in the Men’s 25metre Rapid Fire Pistol in Shooting. India won the gold medal with a total of 1721-47x, while Pakistan finished with 1699-35x to claim the silver medal.

The Men’s handball team beat Bangladesh 26-23 to win Bronze at the Covered Hall in Pokhara.