By Anjana Kaluarachchi
Pic by Ashan Gamage
Sri Lanka’s march to the semifinals of the Asian Netball championship was made in style as they beat newcomer Japan (110-8) in their last group stage match yesterday at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
It was the fourth consecutive win of the tournament for Sri Lanka and the second consecutive century score as the home team scored 404 goals in their four matches.
Sri Lanka started off without captain Tharjani Sivalingam while Thisala Algama acted as the shooter.
Japan was allowed only one goal attempt in the first quarter which was unsuccessful while in contrast Sri Lanka scored 29 goals.
Due to a minor mistake by the home team Japan was able to score their first goal when Sri Lanka reached 47. The host scored another 27 points at the end of second quarter and it was a joy to watch the celebration of the Japanese after scoring one goal where even their coach was ecstatic.
Star shooter Sivalingam entered the fray in the second quarter along with Goal Attack Semini Alwis and Samanthi Nilushika and sped up the scoring shooting 30 points while Japan scored just two.
Sri Lanka lost their grip a bit in the last quarter where Japan was allowed to score five goals and the crowd enjoyed it.
With another 24 goals in the last quarter Sri Lankan finished with 110 goals while Japan had eight.
Thisala Algama (47), Shashika Samarasinghe (9) Tharjani Sivalingam (52) and Semini Alwis (2) were the scores for Sri Lanka while R. Kanbe (3) and S. Nakatani (5) were the scorers for Japan who deployed a veteran player in 43-year old Joanne George whose is originally from Tonga.
Meanwhile Singapore beat Brunei (76-18) in the next match to finish unbeaten in the other group.
Sri Lanka will most likely to meet Malaysia in the semifinals while Singapore will play Hong Kong in the other semifinal.