Sri Lanka go into their last match against Bangladesh winless, having lost to Australia, New Zealand and India, but one player who has certainly caught the world’s attention is captain Chamari Athapaththu.
There’s no doubt the fearless opener stood out having hit scores of 41 and 33 against New Zealand and India respectively alongside a half-century against hosts Australia.
But Athapaththu is more than ready to better that on Monday.
“I want to score a big knock,” said Athapaththu. “I missed a couple of chances against India.
“As a team, I want us to score 150. That would allow us to beat them, and I hope we can.
“But Bangladesh are a good team. We want to improve on our fielding first and foremost, and then our batting.
“Our middle-order batters need to improve and stay there longer.
“We’ve played a lot of close matches against Australia, New Zealand and India and learnt a lot of lessons. Hopefully, we can improve on these ahead of our last game.”
For Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun, taking the wicket of Athapaththu is just the first step to achieving their tournament target.
If they defeat Sri Lanka in Melbourne, Salma’s side would finish in the top eight and avoid having to qualify for the next edition of the tournament in 2022.
If their ability to restrict New Zealand to 91 is anything to go by, Bangladesh have a good chance of taking more big wickets, but Salma is urging her side to be alert in all three areas.
“We want to put up a fight against Sri Lanka. It’s our last chance to not have to play the World Cup qualifiers,” said Khatun.
“There’s no doubt Athapaththu is a hard-hitting and in-form batter and we have built up a plan against her which we will apply in Monday’s match, taking her wicket will give us a bigger chance to win.
“We need to do well in all three departments to win, though.
“Fielding was a concern for us before the tournament but against New Zealand, we did really well. This time, we need to work on our batting.
“As the tournament has gone on, we have improved our bowling and fielding. We need to put on an all-out performance for the last match.”
Note: This article was first published on ICC’s official website.