Sri Lanka’s captain Chamari Athapaththu stood in the mixed area at Edgbaston and bravely batting back direct questions after her side had been smashed by ten wickets by South Africa in the Commonwealth Games T20 cricket tournament.

They had been skittled for 46 runs and their opponents took around 20 minutes to fly past the sorry scoreline of their rivals.

The ten wicket victory was South Africa’s first of the tournament having lost to New Zealand and England.

Sri Lanka failed to record a point having lost narrowly to England (109/5 against 106/9) and New Zealand (102 for 8 against the Kiwis’s 147 for 7).

The game started badly as Hasini Perera perished first ball, slashing at a ball from pacey Shabnim Ismail outside the off stump and being caught behind.

Harshitha Madhavi followed seven balls later after Sri Lanka had opened their account and the situation went south fast as they nosedived to 12 for four wickets and 18 for five.

The 32-year-old captain is the star performer for her country and she admitted she was under pressure.

Her squad head home from Birmingham to reflect of what might have been as Australia and England, who both have six points from their three games, look set to finish in the final.

South Africa, a fully professional side, have also disappointed in this tournament, finish third in Group B and they will also have to reflect. 

However, sparked into life against the Sri Lanca side with Anneke Bosch claiming 20 runs and Tazmin Brits 21 in their reply to the paltry score by their rivals.

They had also excelled in the field with captain Sune Luus looking to her fast bowling attack on a dry pitch to produce a result. She was successful thanks to tight bowling and some excellent fielding.

Two catches stood out, Sri Lancan wicketkeeper Anushka Sanjeewani snapped-up low down in the covers by Mignon du Preez, and Laura Wolvaardt netting Malsha Shehani in the outfield.

Eight teams contested the T20 event, which has been well attended at the well-appointed Edgbaston ground, a regular home for England’s Test cricket team, and only 1.8 miles from the city centre, a comfortable walk.

The other teams taking part in the inaugural T20 event in the Games were India, Barbados and Pakistan. What a shame that Scotland could not have been here.

It is a big stage for a developing sport which is gaining momentum throughout the world. Possibly next time in Melbourne? 

PICTURE: fireworks from South Africa as they skittle out Sri Lanka at Edgbaston

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