The Chamari Athapaththu-led Sri Lanka scripted history as they defeated England in the three-match T20I series 2-1 on Wednesday, September 6 in Derby. Sri Lanka's seven-wicket win helped them beat England in a series across formats for the first time in history.
Athapaththu was phenomenal throughout the series and led from the front and contributed with both the bat and ball in hand. She scored 114 runs and claimed five wickets to ensure the island nation got into the best possible position of winning the series and deservedly won the Player of the Series award.
With the series tied at 1-1 heading into the third game at the County Ground in Derby, the Sri Lanka captain won the toss and chose to field first - a decision that was justified by their bowlers. Kavisha Dilhari (3-0-16-2), Inoshi Priyadharshani (2-0-15-1), Udeshika Prabodhani (3-0-16-2) and Inoka Ranaweera (3-0-20-1) were relentless in their approach and didn't give any breathing space to the English batters who crumbled under pressure.
Athapaththu was instrumental with the ball and claimed three scalps herself to restrict England to 116 runs in just 19 overs. Chasing 117 to create history, Athapaththu again led the charge for Sri Lanka and got them off to a blistering start. She got out at an individual score of 44 off 28 balls and struck five fours and two sixes at an impressive strike rate of 157.14. At the time of her dismissal, the visitors were firmly placed in the game chase with 65 runs on the board in 6.4 overs.
They lost two more wickets as wicketkeeper Anushka Sanjeewani and Vishmi Gunaratne got out while trying to up the ante but Harshitha Samarawickrama (26* off 28 balls) and Hasini Perera (9* off 13 balls) did the job for Sri Lanka as they chased down the total with 18 balls to spare.
Both teams will now engage in a three-match ODI series starting on Saturday at Chester-le-Street.