Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu scripted history by becoming the first player from her country to top the ICC Women’s ODI Player Rankings, released on Tuesday, after starring with the bat in her side’s 2-1 win over New Zealand in the recently concluded series.
Athapaththu jumped six places and claimed the top billing from Australia opener Beth Mooney on the back of her excellent series against New Zealand that netted a total of 248 runs from three matches and included an amazing knock of 140 not out from just 80 deliveries that helped her side record an unlikely series triumph.
It was the first time that Sri Lanka had beaten New Zealand in a bilateral women’s ODI series and it was on the back of a mountain of runs from their inspirational skipper in Athapaththu.
The 33-year-old hit an unbeaten 108 not out in the opening match of the three-game series and a first-ball duck in the second clash did little to temper the aggression of the confident left-hander heading into the series decider.
Athapaththu smashed nine massive sixes during her quickfire knock, combining with teammate Nilakshi de Silva to record Sri Lanka’s highest ever partnership in women’s ODIs when putting on 190 runs for the third wicket.
It helped Athapaththu become the first Sri Lankan women to top the women’s ODI rankings, joining male compatriot Sanath Jayasuriya as the only two players from the island nation to have held the No.1 spot in the history of the ODI rankings in the batting.
Only two other Sri Lanka players have reached number one position in the women’s rankings, both in the year 2014 — left-arm seam bowler Udeshika Prabodhani (T20I bowling) and Shashikala Siriwardene (T20I all-rounders).
On the other hand, other Sri Lanka players to advance are Kavisha Dilhari (up 19 places to 37th among batters) and Prabodhani (up 14 places to 32nd among bowlers).
Meanwhile, there was some joy for New Zealand despite the series loss, with skipper Sophie Devine jumping six places to 13th overall on the list for ODI batters on the back of her 194 runs for the series and experienced seamer Lea Tahuhu moving up three spots to equal 14th on the ODI bowler rankings following her five wickets over the three matches.
There was also some movement following the completion of the three-match ODI series between the West Indies and Ireland in the Caribbean, with Stafanie Taylor (up one spot to ninth) and Gaby Lewis (up five places to 21st) the biggest eye catchers on the batter rankings and Shamilia Connell (up four spots to 24th) the biggest mover on the list for bowlers.
The first T20I in the ongoing Ashes series between England and Australia saw some movement on the latest T20I rankings, with in-form all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner moving up one place to sixth overall and a new career best rating on the updated list for batters.
England counterpart Sophia Dunkley moved up four places to 16th on the same list, while spinner Sarah Glenn (up one spot to third) and Jess Jonassen (up four spots to 18th) made their move up the rankings for T20I bowlers.