Dilhari and Gunaratne sparkle as Sri Lanka take unassailable 2-0 lead

West Indies

Sri Lanka 93 for 5 (Gunaratne 50, Dilhari 28, Ramharack 2-29) beat West Indies 92 (Williams 24, Dilhari 4-20, Athapaththu 2-8, Kulasuriya 2-16)

Vishmi Gunaratne‘s half century and Kavisha Dilhari‘s star turn with bat and ball secured a five-wicket win for Sri Lanka in the second ODI against West Indies in Hambantota, and with it a series victory as they went 2-0 up with a game to go. It is Sri Lanka’s first series win against the West Indies since 2008.

After Sri Lanka were set a target of just 93, Gunaratne’s run-a-ball 50 broke the spine of the chase on a sluggish Sooriyawewa surface. It was particularly impressive as it followed the early dismissals of both Chamari Athapaththu and Harshitha Samarawickrama inside the first 10 overs.

With Dilhari (28 off 38) for company, Gunaratne made it seem as if she was batting on a different surface to the rest, plundering nine fours and a six in her innings – West Indies as a whole had hit only 13 boundaries.

When Gunaratne fell, mistiming a full-toss to mid-off, Sri Lanka needed just 14 more for victory. Karishma Ramharack grabbed the wickets of Hasini Perera and Dilhari shortly after, to finish with innings best figures of 2 for 29, but there would be no late jitters as Sri Lanka sauntered to victory with 172 balls to spare.

It was a win set up by the bowlers, particularly the spinners. Dilhari’s figures of 4 for 20 were the best of the innings, but she was ably supported by the left-arm orthodox pairing of Sachini Nisansala and Sugandika Kumari, who kept up the pressure from the other end.

The visitors for their part struggled to turn over the strike effectively, with an alarming number of dots played out through the innings. Of their total, 52 runs came in boundaries and just 40 from running between wickets, despite their batting out 31 overs.

Rashada Williams showed patience at the top of the order with a 62-ball 24 but was cleaned up by a Kumari arm ball. The pace pairing of Udeshika Prabodhani and Achini Kulasuriya were also miserly at the start of the innings, with the latter rewarded for a seven-over opening spell with the two wickets – the pinpoint yorker arrowed in on leg stump to Shermaine Campbelle a particular highlight.

After West Indies stumbled to 54 for 6, Aaliyah Alleyne and Afy Fletcher opted for an aggressive approach, and it worked briefly. Their 28-run seventh-wicket stand came at better than run-a-ball but was snuffed out when Alleyne missed a straight one from Aththapathu. Fletcher was the penultimate wicket to fall, lbw off Dilhari, who wrapped up the innings a ball later.

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