Crazy scenes as Aussies 'dodge a bullet' at T20 World Cup
AUSTRALIAN captain Meg Lanning has capped off her 100th T20I, starring with the bat alongside vice-captain Rachael Haynes for a match-winning 95-run partnership after the side were devastated early in the chase.
Chasing 123 to win, Alyssa Healy, Ashleigh Gardner and Beth Mooney were all dismissed after 3.2 overs, leaving Australia on 3-10 and staring at an early exit to the World Cup.
But the side rallied to a five-wicket win with three balls remaining.
Haynes slammed 60 off 47 balls before being stumped and Lanning played a patient 41 off 44 not out to lead Australia home.
Both women survived dropped catches, with Lanning being the beneficiary of a wasted review.
The result was a close call for the side after Lanning admitted Australia would have to play like they were in a knockout tournament.
"It was nice to get the win, we were under a bit of pressure out there but nice to get over the line," she later said.
"We just needed to build a partnership and get the scoreboard moving a bit. Luckily we were only chasing 120, which gave us some time to get into it."
Lanning said it was good to get off the mark after the nervous match.
A balance of youth and senior players is always the key to success. Today it was the senior players of Lanning and Haynes. Coming in at 3/10, knowing that Australia HAVE to win steadied the ship!! #T20WorldCup— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) February 24, 2020
It was hailing before the match began but the weather cleared, allowing play to get under way.
Rain through the first innings was a constant reminder of how precarious Australia's position was, but the players never left the field.
A wicket with the second ball had Australia on top, but Chamari Atapattu dominated.
It was an incredible innings and had some labelling her the best batter in the women's game.
At one point, she left Australian star Alyssa Healy flabbergasted after launching the last ball of Delissa Kimmince's first over into the crowd.
Come for the six, stay for the @ahealy77 reaction and crowd catch!— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) February 24, 2020
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The catch was taken in the crowd and commentator Debbie Hockley said Healy's reaction said it all.
"Alyssa Healy is thinking 'what?'," she said. "That is a classic shot to me of Alyssa Healy.
"I'm almost speechless, that is a stand and deliver, isn't it?"
Isa Guha was stunned by the strike, calling Atapattu "a serious player".
The Sri Lankan star took a little time to get in but raced to 50 off 38 balls before she was dismissed after a run out went wrong for the Aussies.
Despite the phenomenal display, it may not have been enough.
Healy was deemed to have knocked the bails off at one end and wasn't able to beat the non-striker back in what was almost a double play.
But Nicola Carey, who was on World Cup debut, starred with the ball, taking 2-18 off three overs.
Sri Lanka's strength is Atapattu.— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) February 24, 2020