ENGLAND VS SRI LANKA: Alice Capsey shines as the hosts win the opener of their rain-soaked T20 series

First T20, First Central District Ground, Hove
England 186-4 (17.0 points): Capsi 51 (27), White 48 (30)
Sri Lanka 55-3 (6.0 overs): De Silva 18 (8); Dean 1-6
England won by 12 runs (DLS)

Alice Capsey hit a massive half-century as England beat Sri Lanka by 12 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in the rain-affected T20 series opener at Hove.

The 19-year-old hit five fours and six sixes in an impressive 51 off 27 balls to help England to a 186-4 innings that was reduced to 17 overs after a late start.

Danny White opened the innings with a boundary-laden 48 off 30 balls.

In reply, Sri Lanka reached 23-0 from 3.1 overs before the rain returned, and when play resumed the tourists were set a revised target of 68 from six overs – another 45 from 17 balls.

This was always a tricky question and it became even more difficult when 17-year-old debutant Mahika Gor removed Sri Lankan skipper Shamari Athapathu for her first England wicket.

Sri Lanka fought on until the final as Neelakshi D’Silva hit three consecutive boundaries to start the final but the visitors fell short, finishing 55-3.

England lead 1-0 in the three-match series, with the second T20 in Chelmsford on Saturday.

Capsey shows class with a devastating blow

The evening began with excitement over the debut of left-arm bowler Gore, but it was another teenager who made his debut in the south coast gloom.

Capsey has already become a regular in the England T20 team and has shown why in a devastating innings.

The Sri Lankan players seemed to back off after England’s blistering start, with Capsey initially content to wait to get rid of bad balls.

But once I decided to leave, it didn’t matter how good the ball was, as it was received in the middle of Capsey’s racket.

She has her touch but it was the power that dazzled Huff as Capsey fired three huge smashes into the middle of the wicket deep into one from Inoka Ranaweera to start England’s attack in the late innings.

Her 26-ball fifty is England’s fourth-fastest in T20s – Capsey already holds the record with a 21-ball effort.

So, while there are a number of players to look out for as a Heather Knight sidekick in the series, they’d do well to match the excitement Capsey provides.

“I am free to do it my way” – that’s what they said

Player of the match, England’s Capsey: “It took a few balls to get used to the pace of the pitch and then we realized they were slipping and we tried to hit the pockets as hard as we could.

“The messages from (coach) John Lewis and Heather Knight have been very clear about how I play my game.

“They gave me the freedom to do it my way and pressure the bowlers off the first ball, really.”

Sri Lankan captain Shamari Athapathu: “I’m not worried about the team’s performance, there have been positives in the batting and we are looking forward to playing good cricket in the next couple of matches.

“We tried our best and our bowling team struggled to catch the ball in the wet conditions and the cold weather, Sri Lanka is not usually like this.”

Former England player Alex Hartley in a special test match: “Alice Capsey could be as good as Nat Schiver-Bronte. She bats like that. She’s a fine 19-year-old cricketer.”

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