LONDON: Australia captain Meg Lanning made a superb century as the reigning champions made it two wins out of two at the women’s World Cup with a tournament-record chase to beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets at Bristol on Thursday despite a stunning hundred from Chamari Atapattu.
The Sri Lanka No 3 made an unbeaten 178 - the third highest individual score in a women's one-day international - in a seemingly competitive total of 257/9.
Atapattu’s innings featured 22 fours and six sixes.
But poor fielding and catching meant Sri Lanka's spin-dominated attack rarely looked like defending such a score, with Lanning making 152 not out - her 11th ODI century a record for women’s matches at this level.
Lanning ended the match in style, hitting a six to bring up her 150 and seal victory for Australia with nearly six overs to spare.
It was their second dominant success of the tournament, after an opening eight-wicket win over the West Indies.
But Atapattu received the player of the match award and an admiring Lanning said:
“Once she got going, it was hard to stop her. We couldn’t stop her in the end, anyway. We know she likes to hit the ball hard and straight. We tried a whole lot of plans but none of that worked - a very special innings.”
Lanning added: “In the innings break, I said we need someone to get a big score. It was good that I managed to do that.”
Sri Lanka captain Inoka Ranaweera had mixed emotions, saying: “I think we need to build partnerships and play in the middle, so I am disappointed. I am proud of Chamari, I am very happy. For our next game against England, we will look to make fewer mistakes.”
India, who stunned hosts England with a 35-run victory, also made it two wins from two as they overpowered the West Indies by seven wickets at Taunton on Thursday.
Opener Smriti Mandhana got to three figures with an unbeaten 106 following her 90 against England.
She added 108 runs for the third wicket with captain Mithali Raj (46) after India were in trouble at 33 for two chasing a modest 184.
“Smriti played well for her hundred, it was a crucial innings she played,” said Raj.
India’s spinners made life so tough for the West Indies that even the usually dynamic Deandra Dottin - holder of the fastest century in women’s T20Is – could manage a mere seven off 48 balls.
The West Indies slumped to 91/6 before some late-order hitting boosted the total.
“We didn’t get the batting right in the middle,” admitted West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor. “We have the batters to do it but I think it’s up to the batters to take more responsibility in their actions.”
All the eight teams involved play each other once, with the top four contesting the semi-finals.
The final takes place at Lord’s on July 23.