The Momentum Proteas got their 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup campaign off to a winning start when they beat Pakistan by three wickets at Grace Road in Leicester on Sunday. This win marks the side’s highest-ever World Cup run chase after they were set a 207-run target by Sana Mir’s charges.
Pakistan ended their innings on 206/8, their highest World Cup total, after being asked to bat first. Nahida Khan was led the batting effort, hitting a 101-ball 79, including nine fours and a six. After the initial breakthrough by Marizanne Kapp (1/48) seeing the end of Ayesha Zafar for nine in the second over, Khan spearheaded a 33-run, second-wicket stand with Javeira Khan (17), before she was run out by Shabnim Ismail off the bowling of Kapp.
It was downhill from there, with no one getting more than Asmavia Iqbal’s 27 (38 balls). Moseline Daniels (2/21) and Ismail (2/52) returned two wickets each, while Suné Luus (1/18) and captain, Dané van Niekerk (1/14) took one a piece.
South Africa’s batting reply got off to an excellent start with Lizelle Lee (60) and Laura Wolvaardt (52) sharing a 113-run opening stand. The former was trapped in front by opposing skipper, Mir, but things got dicey when the latter, while batting with Trisha Chetty, was run out by Zafar at the start of the 31st.
The run outs did not end there however, Kapp and Van Niekerk both fell to the same dismissal for one and five respectively. Those, coupled with the loss of Chloe Tryon who was bowled out by Sadia Yousuf for three, saw the Proteas slip to 162/6 after 41.3 overs.
Losing six wickets in 49 runs was not ideal, but Ismail made her biggest contribution in the game yet, smashing three boundaries in the second-last over to secure victory for her side.
She was delighted to be have helped her team to an opening win.
She said: “It’s really important to start tournaments like this on a positive note because it gives you momentum going into the next matches. The confidence boost from today’s game is going to take us a long way in this tournament, just that belief that we can pull off a win even when it looks as though we are down and out showed us that we are capable of more.
“I’m just really excited about my batting. Before going out there, I sat by myself and told myself that I can do this, with Sune (Luus) at the crease still, I knew we weren’t down and out. I’m looking forward to the next game against New Zealand.”
South Africa will move to Derby tomorrow where they will play the White Ferns on Wednesday. The match will be live on SuperSport 2 at 11:00.