The independent voice of cricket

International Cricket

Chamari Athapaththu emulates Sanath Jayasuriya, becomes first Sri Lankan woman to top ICC rankings

chamari athapaththu ranking
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu created history by becoming the first Sri Lankan woman to top the ICC ODI rankings, emulating another trailblazing left-handed Sri Lankan opener, Sanath Jayasuriya.

There is little doubt over Athapaththu being the greatest female batter in Sri Lankan history. She has scored the top ten individual scores in ODIs for Sri Lanka Women, including all eight hundreds, as well as the only T20I century.

After her record-shattering performance in the recently concluded ODI series against New Zealand Women, she scaled the top of the ICC rankings for batters in Women’s ODIs, an achievement that is in equal parts fitting and historic.


Before Athapaththu, only two Sri Lankan women have reached the top of the ICC player rankings – Udeshika Prabodhani and Shashikala Siriwardene. Both topped the Women’s T20Is bowlers and all-rounders charts respectively for a brief period in 2014.

Athapaththu’s ascension to the throne in Women’s ODIs, however, marks the very first occasion of a Sri Lanka woman reaching the top spot in the ODI format.

It comes on the back of her two centuries in the historic series win against New Zealand Women. In the first match of the series, Athapaththu scored 108 not out off 83 deliveries, leading Sri Lanka to a nine-wicket victory in a run-chase of 172.

She fell first ball for a golden duck in the second match, but more than made up for it in the decider. New Zealand had scored 127-2 from 31 overs when rain intervened, and Sri Lanka got a stiff target of 196 from 29 overs. Athapaththu led the charge. Despite Sri Lanka being reduced to 6-2, she absolutely took apart almost every New Zealand bowler in sight.

She hit 13 fours and a world-record-equalling nine sixes en route to an eighty-ball 140 not out at a strike rate of 175. Sri Lanka won the game by eight wickets with more than three overs remaining.

Athapaththu was ranked seventh before the series. Her twin centuries saw her jump six places, leapfrogging the likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Meg Lanning, Laura Wolvaardt, Smriti Mandhana, Nat Sciver-Brunt, and Beth Mooney, to claim the top spot.

In the process, Athapaththu also became just the second Sri Lankan cricketer across gender to reach No.1 in the ICC ODI batters’ rankings. Sanath Jayasuriya remains the only other to have reached that mark. He was the No.1 ranked batter in Men’s ODIs between 2002 and 2003.

Jayasuriya and Athapaththu have similarities as cricketers. Both are left-handed opening batters known for their naturally attacking style of play. Both have led their national teams. And now, both belong to an elite club.

Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match analysis, player interviews, and much more.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99