ICC Women's World Cup 2017

SL hero eyes WBBL after 'special' knock

After starting like Sanga and finishing like Sanath, Athapaththu could be headed Down Under

Laura Jolly in Bristol

30 June 2017, 01:19 PM AEST

Athapathu epic puts Aussie bowlers to the sword

If any of the Rebel Women's Big Bash League teams are on the hunt for a big-hitting batter, Sri Lanka's Chamari Athapaththu might just be their woman.

The 27-year-old struck six maximums in her unbeaten 143-ball, 178-run blitz on Thursday, dispatching a shocked Australian attack to all corners of Bristol's County Ground.

Quick Single: Athapaththu re-writes record books with epic

While it wasn't enough to secure a history-making win for the Sri Lankans, as a Meg Lanning century ensured the defending champions strolled to their target of 258 with 6.1 overs to spare, it was enough for Athapaththu to capture the attention of the cricket world.

Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara was among those to congratulate Athapaththu on social media, while Lanning admitted with a wry smile that the Sri Lankan was just "too good" on the day.

"It was a very special innings from Athapaththu and we tried all sorts of things to slow her down and get her out," Lanning said.

"But she was too good for us today. 

"Some of those shots she played were incredible so well done to her, it certainly was one of the great knocks."

Proud Athapaththu reflects on her all-time knock

Athapaththu's brilliant knock was the third-highest ever in women's ODIs and second highest in a World Cup. 

While it wasn't part of a winning effort, the Sri Lankan says it still ranks as her greatest day on the cricket field.

Report & highlights: Australia win after record run chase

"I played my normal game," Athapaththu said.

"First 20 or 30 overs I tried for singles and the odd boundary. Then after 35 overs I tried to hit the ball over the rope.

"This is my best innings, I've scored hundreds against Ireland and South Africa but this is my first in a World Cup and my biggest score in my life."

Records galore as Aussies maintain perfect start

Asked which Sri Lankans she modelled her game on, Athapaththu didn't have to think hard.

"I like (Kumar) Sangakkara and (Sanath) Jayasuriya," she laughed.

"I like to play like Jayasuriya. Today I started like Sanga and ended like Sanath."

Just two cricketers from the subcontinent have played in the WBBL, India pair Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana, but Athapaththu has put her hand up to be the first Sri Lankan to appear in WBBL|03.

Classy Kaur shines in her first WBBL outing

"I would really like to play the Big Bash and the England T20 league," she said.

"Hopefully, if they request me, definitely I would play in the WBBL. 

"I like Sydney Thunder."

And the Thunder is her club of choice, Melbourne Stars skipper Lanning says she'd happily accept her at the MCG.

"If she's going to bat like that every time, I'd happily have her," Laning said.

"Once she gets going she's very hard to stop and I don't think any boundary is big enough for her.

"So maybe going forward we can chat about things."

Women's World Cup Guide

News, highlights and full schedule

Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.

View every World Cup squad