In a captivating display of cricketing prowess, Nat Sciver-Brunt stole the spotlight as she marked her 100th ODI appearance with a remarkable performance, guiding England to a resounding 161-run victory over Sri Lanka in the third and final match of the series. Sciver-Brunt’s extraordinary knock of 120 runs off just 74 balls, including a lightning-fast century in 66 balls – the fastest by any England Women’s player in ODIs – secured a 2-0 series win for England in Leicester.
The match, marred by rain delays, eventually featured 31 overs a side. England faced a shaky start, losing two early wickets, but Sciver-Brunt, who also captained the side in Heather Knight’s absence due to illness, joined forces with Maia Bouchier to engineer a stunning recovery. Their partnership, worth an impressive 193 runs for the third wicket, resurrected England’s innings from a precarious 18 for 2. Bouchier, not to be overshadowed, played a brilliant innings, contributing 95 runs from 65 balls. Together, they set Sri Lanka a daunting target of 274.
The rain delays and pitch inspections led to a delayed start of over three hours, testing the patience of cricket fans. However, the thrilling performance that followed reminded everyone why they endure such delays – for moments like these.
The climax of the match came with the emergence of Charlie Dean, who secured a maiden international five-wicket haul. Dean’s exceptional bowling performance left no doubt about the outcome, cementing England’s victory.
This Sri Lanka tour has been nothing short of gripping, with several compelling storylines. Sri Lanka’s surprise 2-1 victory in the T20I series, including their first-ever wins against England in the format, showcased their captain Chamari Athapaththu’s incredible year with the bat and exposed England’s vulnerability to spin. The ODI series saw the impressive debuts of young seamers Mahika Gaur and Lauren Filer in the opening match, as England turned the tables and gained control in the second fixture, which regrettably ended in a washout.
It’s important to note that while this victory came against a side ranked lower than England in the 50-over format, it in no way diminishes the remarkable performance of Nat Sciver-Brunt. Her return to the England side, following a rest during the T20I series, proved pivotal. Just a week ago, she had been England’s standout performer in the Women’s Ashes and had even led Blaze to victory over Central Sparks in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with an unbeaten 66.
Nat Sciver-Brunt’s remarkable journey, which includes a year-long break to prioritize her mental health, mirrors Ben Stokes’ role in the England Men’s team. She has set an example by advocating for players’ mental well-being and, like Stokes, showcased her indispensable value to any team she represents. Despite a challenging start to the match, with Sri Lanka opting to bowl under gloomy skies after winning the toss, Sciver-Brunt assumed control of the narrative and delivered an outstanding performance.
In the world of cricket, moments like these reaffirm why fans endure the uncertainties of weather delays and pitch inspections. It’s these fairytale performances that make it all worthwhile.
Here are the schedule and results of the Sri Lanka Women tour of England, 2023 edition:
|Aug 31, Thu
|England Women vs Sri Lanka Women, 1st T20I
|County Ground, Hove
|England Women won by 12 runs (DLS method)
|Sep 02, Sat
|England Women vs Sri Lanka Women, 2nd T20I
|County Ground, Chelmsford
|Sri Lanka Women won by 8 wickets
|Sep 06, Wed
|England Women vs Sri Lanka Women, 3rd T20I
|County Ground, Derby
|Sri Lanka Women won by 7 wickets
|Sep 09, Sat
|Sri Lanka Women vs England Women, 1st ODI
|Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street
|England Women won by 7 wickets
|Sep 12, Tue
|Sri Lanka Women vs England Women, 2nd ODI
|County Ground, Northampton
|No result (due to rain)
|Sep 14, Thu
|England Women vs Sri Lanka Women, 3rd ODI
|Grace Road, Leicester
|England Women won by 161 runs (31 overs match due to rain)
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