Athapaththu’s Record Breaking 195* Provides Sri Lanka Women Highest Ever ODI Chase

 Chamari Athapaththu’s monumental innings of 195* outshone Laura Wolvaardt’s impressive 184* as Sri Lanka achieved their highest successful run-chase of 302 in women’s ODIs, resulting in a 1-1 series draw against South Africa.

Her record-breaking knock not only secured her career-best ODI score but also marked the third-highest individual score in women’s ODIs, propelling Sri Lanka to victory and leveling the series.

Athapaththu’s Record Breaking 195* Provides Sri Lanka Women Highest Ever ODI Chase

South Africa’s 301 for 5 (Wolvaardt 184*, Dilhari 2-47) was defeated by Sri Lanka 305 for 4 (Athapaththu 195*, de Silva 50*, Khaka 2-54) by six wickets.

Thanks to a brilliant 195* by their captain Chamari Athapaththu, Sri Lanka achieved the biggest successful chase in women’s ODI history against South Africa—the only one above 300. To help Sri Lanka tie the series 1-1, she concluded with her career-best ODI score and the third-highest individual score by a batter in women’s ODIs.

Athapaththu’s knock defeated Laura Wolvaardt’s 184*, the best score by a South African player and her fourth hundred since taking the captaincy in September, in a battle of the captains. Even though she guided South Africa to their greatest and fifth-highest ODI scores against Sri Lanka, it was insufficient.

In the 21st over, Athapaththu and Nilakshika de Silva saved Sri Lanka from 126 for 4, sharing a fifth-wicket stand of 179 runs, the second-highest stand for the fifth-wicket or lower in women’s cricket. Significantly, Sri Lanka increased its standing in the Women’s Championship table, which establishes eligibility for the ODI World Cup in 2025, by two points. With six games remaining, they move up to seventh place and are still in the running for automatic participation into India the following year. The top five teams, along with the hosts, advance.

Sri Lanka departs from South Africa following their most prosperous stay here. They also won the T20I series 2-1, their first series victory over South Africa, in addition to a squared ODI series. Athapaththu made a suggestion about quitting the game immediately after that victory, but her performance in the third ODI in Potchefstroom revealed she is far from ready to hang up her bat.

Athapaththu was optimistic about Sri Lanka’s possibilities despite the fact that they had never before scored 300 in an ODI or even pursued that much on a flat track with a quick outfield. After starting the bowling and bowled her whole quota of 10 overs with a return of 1 for 59, she was able to smash the ball cleanly, brutally straight down the ground, and quickly between the wickets.

She led the battle to South Africa as the senior partner in her first stand alongside Vishmi Gunaratne, then eighteen. Before Gunaratne was dismissed for LBW by Delmi Tucker, who was also involved in the second wicket, they amassed 90 runs in just 16 overs. South Africa saw an opportunity to disrupt Sri Lanka’s middle order when she made a brilliant catch at backward point to dismiss Prasadani Weerakkody off Nadine de Klerk’s bowling.

Ayabonga Khaka was invited back by Wolvaardt to play in her 100th ODI, and she was successful right away. On the first ball of her fourth over, she had Hansima Karunaratne caught behind after pursuing a wide delivery, and two balls later, Kavisha Dilhari was caught behind down the leg side.

Although Sinalo Jafta made both receptions, the second one hurt her, causing her to stumble and have to leave the field. She was replaced behind the stumps by 16-year-old Karabo Meso, who was uncapped. Meso believed she had taken a wicket off De Silva’s opening ball, but umpire Jacqueline Williams remained unconvinced. Athapaththu remained in the 21st over, with Sri Lanka at 126 for 4.

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The mini-collapse didn’t phase the Sri Lankan captain, who just kept batting. As South Africa collapsed, she kept Sri Lanka in the lead with a century from 78 balls in the 26th over. They fielded badly, offering many overthrows. More significantly, in the 32nd over, Sune Luus dropped Athapaththu at deep mid-wicket on 128 off Nonkululeko Mlaba. Sri Lanka still needed 106 runs from 18.3 overs at that point.

With Silva offering steady support and South Africa becoming lost, Athapaththu took full advantage of her reprieve and swept past the chase. They dismissed two no-balls and nineteen wides in all, and Sri Lanka profited. Together, Athapaththu and de Silva shared the prize after reaching the target in five and a half overs (33 balls) with remarkable strike rotation and boundary hitting.

After Wolvaardt scored her second consecutive hundred in the series against Sri Lanka, from 100 balls, earlier, South Africa would have been certain to win it. Without Tazmin Brits, who had surgery today to repair a meniscus injury in her left knee, Wolvaardt has taken on the role of both accelerating and stabilizing the innings. In her 50th ODI, she made 31 off 55 as the dominating partner in the opening partnership of 116 with Lara Goodall, scoring 83 off 74 balls.

The middle of South Africa’s innings faltered as the Sri Lankan spinners applied pressure. After being removed for eight runs in the course of eighteen balls by Goodall, Tucker, and Luus, they rallied around their most dependable all-around player, Marizanne Kapp. Wolvaardt and her enjoyed a run-a-ball partnership of 63 overs, with Kapp on the receiving end when Wolvaardt reached her century prior to being run out at the conclusion of the 35th over. At the moment, South Africa was 187 for 4, and de Klerk’s presence upped the tension.

For the sixth wicket, De Klerk and Wolvaardt put on 92 runs in 80 balls, with Wolvaardt being the more aggressive one in the stands while de Klerk was still developing as a finisher. South Africa scored 114 runs at an average of 7.6 runs per over in their final 15 overs after she struck her next 84 runs in 47 balls, which appeared to set them up nicely until Athapaththu had the last word.

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