In the end, one was the most surprising innings imaginable, and the other was the least surprising. Both came within the space of a day.
If you see the numbers, there's not much separating them. Chamari Atapattu, 178 not out. Meghann Lanning, 152 not out. Atapattu a little faster, a little bigger, but not by far.
In reality, these efforts could not have been more polar. One a technical masterpiece of clinical control, excellence made manifest; the other an event, a celebration, impossibility grasped in a moment of artistic triumph.
Without exaggeration, Atapattu's knock was one of the greatest things I've seen live on a cricket field.
Virat Kohli in Adelaide or Asad Shafiq in Brisbane, the Champions Trophy for Pakistan, Mitchell Johnson's Ashes dream, Brendon McCullum and the fastest ton. This sort of company.
Let's lay out why. First, batting for Sri Lanka is not remotely the same as for Australia. Sri Lanka is one of the strugglers of women's cricket.
Atapattu is the only player in her World Cup squad to average more than 20. The only one to enter this tournament with an ODI hundred to her name.
Sri Lanka's national team gets scant resources or attention. Search it online and you'll find inconsistent names, incorrect ages, mixed-up bowling styles. Basic information is hard enough, let alone coverage.
Before this game, the highest score by a Sri Lankan woman against Australia was 68 not out, Chamari Polgampola crawling there from 136 balls while the team fell apart. Atapattu made a third-ball duck.
This team was coming up against players whose pay packets will soon head toward $200,000 a year. The entire Sri Lankan women's program probably doesn't total one such salary.
So, Sri Lanka was supposed to be crushed. That's why Lanning won the toss and bowled. Roll them for a paltry total, romp the chase, avert the risk of rain, and boost your net run rate. Simple.
Atapattu ignores the script with brilliant ton
That script was unfolding when Nipuni Hansika was leg-before to Ellyse Perry from the third ball of the match. Sri Lanka got off the mark with a wide. But the wicket brought Atapattu to the crease.
She nudged a single, played out a maiden, then got strike against Perry with two balls left in an over. The premier fast bowler in the world, thereabouts, tried for a yorker. Atapattu produced a perfect straight drive.
From our vantage point behind her, what stood out was the shape of the shot, the ease of execution. It made us sit up and take notice. Thinking perhaps she'll make a few today.
Back came Perry for her next over. She tried her first bouncer, sharpish. Atapattu took it on, flicking over the keeper.
Not controlled, but clear intent. Two balls later, a cover drive laced so hard Kristen Beams let it slip through.
"Good shot for none" would normally have been the call, but it was four. Next ball, even better. A touch wide, and Atapattu was down on one knee, swinging the arms with an immaculate square drive. It flew to the point rope.
Polgampola played to type, blocking and spectating. When she was out for 6 from 33, Atapattu was 35 from 38, having pulled and driven boundaries from Megan Schutt before cutting Beams.
So it went. A couple of teammates sticking around for a while, then dropping away. A couple of others departing quickly.
Throughout, Atapattu playing the right shot to each ball with perfect conviction. When the sixth wicket fell, she was on 73.
Calling the game for ABC radio, I suggested she might break her top score of 111. It was partly facetious. She was batting like a dream, but it looked like the rest of the team would wake her up early.
Instead, she channelled Inception and dropped a level deeper. Her shot of the day came out, dipping her knees for a cut against Schutt that flew to the fence like a single flicker from a strobe light.
Schutt straightened, Atapattu drop-kicked over midwicket. Finesse and brute force within three balls.
Then the first of the sixes, midwicket against leg-spin, and the second, straight against off-spin, mixed with a glance fine from Gardner, an uppercut from Perry.
When Eshani Lokusuriya was out for 13, the partnership was 60 in 48 balls.
But up we went another gear. Nicole Bolton had jagged two part-timer's wickets, but went the part-timer's journey. Schutt went for 14 in four balls.
The 150 came up from a slash to third man, celebrated by a pulled four against Perry and two more sixes from Beams. Wickets kept falling. Atapattu kept not giving a toss.
When it ended, she had made 69.24 per cent of her team's runs, obliterating the previous record.
She'd made the highest ever score against Australia, the second-highest in World Cups, and the third-highest ever. The two above her, with respect, were made against Ireland and Denmark.
Control, tempo and timing mark special innings
More than that, she'd done it all with such control. There was scarcely a false stroke in the lot.
Only late in the piece did the shots grow in ambition: a forehand smash over Perry's head, the knee-drops for her midwicket aerials.
The timing of the strokeplay was one thing, the timing of the innings another. The way the tempo lifted in a long and faultless crescendo.
The way she blocked out falling wickets, blocked out the chunks where teammates soaked up overs, then came back on strike to take up where she left off.
Rahul Bhatia once wrote of a long-past innings from Mohammed Ashraful: "Each time you thought it couldn't possibly get any better, Ashraful would not only make it better, he'd also give you free ice-cream."
Melinda Farrell wrote of this one: "Better than ice cream on the beach on a summer's day."
So it was. There are days when an unexpected player is in the zone. Stephen Crook lacing the Ashes tourists at Northamptonshire in 2015. Shane Watson at The Oval in 2013.
When you know you're seeing something special in a career, someone taking on everything and winning. Not streaky. Dominant.
This was one, and Lanning's masterclass was not. Because Lanning is the best in the world.
Air of inevitability to Australia's chase
You know it's within her power to do that again. After the excitement, the momentum, Australia knocked off the highest Women's World Cup chase without breaking a sweat.
There was an air of inevitability. There was context, too, that was all-important. Lanning hit 19 fours and one six, Atapattu 22 fours and six sixes. Which tells you Lanning built an innings on singles, twos, threes.
Partly, Sri Lanka's poor fielding regularly conceded runs. Partly, Australia's good running created them. The inverse had been true for Sri Lanka's running.
Lanning could get off strike confident she would get back on. Atapattu spent more than half her innings marooned at the far end. While Lanning was at the crease, her partners faced 116 balls for 105 runs. Atapattu's faced 153 for 60.
That sensible support meant Lanning chased the target two wickets down, without worrying about the other end. She had the best possible position to wield her enviable skills.
And it sent a strident warning to the rest of the competition. Whatever you put in front of us, we'll get it.
It turns out you can build a batting innings based on one outrageous individual effort, but it's much harder to build a fielding innings on one.
And still, the bravura solo will be remembered more vividly than the flawless lead violin.
Atapattu was named player of the match — it could hardly have been otherwise. Because there is only one of those innings people will daydream about in years to come.
Only one that will cause excited reminiscence. There is perfection, and then there is impossibility realised.
It is not very often you're privileged enough to see the latter.