Sri Lanka brushed aside hosts Singapore (69-50) with a characteristically effortless performance in the 11th Asian Netball Championship 2018 to claim their 5th Asian Netball title at the OCBC Arena, Singapore.
Coming into the game unbeaten and having beaten Singapore in the previous round, Sri Lanka were the clear favourites for the title. However, Singapore, the highest ranked team at the tournament too came in with a bit of form under their belts, defeating defending champions Malaysia twice in the past 3 days.
Sri Lanka have not had the best starts to games in this tournament however, they turned things around in the final, kicking off the scoring. Singapore kept up with the Lankans, with star shooter, Charmaine Soh, who had a blinder of a game in the semi-final against Malaysia, doing most of the scoring.
The high-scoring first quarter ended with things even, 16-16.
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Singapore started the stronger of the two teams in the 2nd quarter, but Sri Lanka kept within touching distance of Singapore until they went on a 6-0 run to pull away from the hosts. It was a phase from which Singapore would never fully recover as Sri Lanka went into the half time break with a 6-goal lead.
Half Time – Sri Lanka 32 – 26 Singapore
Sri Lanka’s tactic to keep looping the ball into Tharjini Sivalingam worked once again as the Singaporeans were unable to find an answer to the shooter’s height and accuracy, despite switching around Sindhu Nair and Chen Lili multiple times.
Sri Lanka’s defense and mid-court also gave the Singaporeans some headaches, turning the ball over time and again as Sri Lanka doubled their lead during the 3rd quarter. (50-38)
Coming into the final quarter, the game was all but lost for the hosts as Sri Lanka moved towards a landslide win. Singapore fell away during the latter part of the quarter, despite a few delightful long-range efforts from Soh, conceding a 69-50 win to Sri Lanka.
Runners up at the 3 previous championships, Sri Lanka had a point to prove coming into this tournament.
Read More: Sri Lanka hold off Malaysian fightback to stay unbeaten
The team, this time with appropriate amount of preparation prior to the tournament and the right personnel for the job, ended up cruising to the title, with their closest game coming in the Group E encounter against Malaysia which they won 62-59.
Full Time – Sri Lanka 69 – 50 Singapore
On her team’s win and an impressive run at the M1 Asian Netball Championship, captain Chathurangi Jayasooriya remarked;
“I am really proud and happy for my coach and my team. In the last eight months, we trained very hard with our coach. We maintained good discipline, as nothing is possible without that. We stuck together and maintained our team bond – I think that is our secret to winning.”