Tharjini Sivalingam scored an incredible 76 goals as Sri Lanka earned their first win of Netball World Cup Liverpool 2019 by beating Singapore 88-50 in the opening game in Group E.
Both sides started brightly, each claiming two goals apiece. However it was Sri Lanka who then put their foot down, with their tall goal shooter Sivalingam firing in seven goals to give them a 7-4 advantage.
It was a perfect ten as she extended the lead to 10-5, on what was already proving a difficult day for the Singaporean defence. Their main threat in attack was Charmaine Soh who netted nine of their eleven first-quarter goals. However Sivalingam had already boosted her tournament tally by 21.
The second quarter began in the same vein, with the Sri Lankan goal shooter taking her chances, and resistance being offered by Soh. Sivalingam’s shooting partner Hasitha Mendis got her first goal to take the score out to 28-14, but she was overshadowed by the prolific Sivalingam.
Even when marked by two Singaporean defenders, the outcome when the ball was fed into Sivalingam was almost inevitable. Pei Shan Lee, on for Singapore in place of the ineffectual Xinyi Tan, popped in her first goal to make the score 38-18, but Sivalingam’s relentless shooting ensured her side led 45-21 at half time.
There was minimal surprise among the court 2 crowd when the Sri Lankan goal shooter opened the scoring in the second half. She soon reached her personal half century, with the score at 52-24, and while Singapore upped their goal tally slightly from the opening two quarters, they were still down 71-36 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter saw more of the same when a rebounded Singapore shot allowed Sivalingam to add another brace to her tally. The Singaporeans were starting to wilt, leaving more space for Sri Lanka to exploit.
The game’s star player was substituted as the clock ticked down, but there was still time for Sri Lanka to add a further nine goals to their tally to ensure an even more one-sided look to the final score.
Sri Lankan captain Chathurangi Jayasooriya said:
“This game was more challenging for us as we are the Asian champions. We are glad to get our first win.”
Singapore head coach Natalie Milicich said:
“At the end of the day you cannot make those errors against a team which is efficient in attack. We are a little team so we will always find it difficult to get ball. We have to make up for it by being more efficient with ball in hand.”