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Till Tuesday, Mahinda Rajapaksa had never seen the Sri Lankan women's cricket team play an international match. The President, who is no stranger to cricket stadiums back home, probably wasn't even aware of many of the players in the present lot. He couldn't have chosen a better day though to turn on his television and catch his first-ever glimpse of Shashikala Siriwardene & her ebullient lot.
One where they rewrote history in the most charming of fashions, even if it meant they had to play party-poopers and cause a major heartbreak by knocking out the hosts within the first week of the World Cup. And an elated Rajapaksa couldn't help himself from showering his praise on the girls who had just brought immense pride and joy for the island nation by becoming the first Sri Lankan women's team to progress past the first stage of a multinational event. The call from the supremo even ended up interrupting Siriwardene during her post-match press conference-with the Sri Lankan media manager gate-crashing the forum screaming, "It's our country's President on the line"—but she wasn't complaining.
In fact, Sri Lanka's final league encounter of the World Cup was also only the second-ever televised international women's cricket match in the Emerald Isle. They were after all rank outsiders going into the tournament, having never defeated a top-four ranked team previously in an ODI. But they changed that statistic by recording their maiden win over England last week. At the Brabourne Stadium, by sending the Indians packing by a significant margin of 138 runs, they also proved that Sri Lankan women's cricket had arrived and was here to stay.
Rarely has an unfancied team outplayed the favourite in more convincing fashion than the way in which Siriwardene & Co thrashed the home team on Tuesday-their first win over India after 16 straight defeats. Not to forget this was their first-ever match under lights. It was the Indians who froze though and how.
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