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Sloppy Proteas sneak win over Pakistan

South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt top-scored during their Women’ World Cup match against Pakistan. Picture: Marty Melville, AFP

There remains obvious flaws in their performances at the World Cup, but the Proteas Women’s team are just about getting the job done following a tense victory over Pakistan.

Cape Town – The Proteas are slowly getting into their work at the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.

There remains obvious flaws in their performances, but they are just about getting the job done following a tense six-run victory over Pakistan at the Bay Oval on Friday.

South Africa’s batting unit are delivering in patches with a heavy reliance on Laura Wolvaardt (75 off 91 balls, 10×4) and captain Sune Luus (62 off 102 balls, 2×4, 1×6) at the moment. Both struck World Cup bests on Friday with Wolvaardt in particular providing rich entertainment with her glorious cover drives.

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Luus’s transformation into a quality top-order batter has been the biggest positive in recent times though. The captain has not only taken on the responsibility of leading the team in Dane van Niekerk’s absence, but is also relishing coming in at No 4 in the batting line-up.

After years of floating around the order while bowling a few of overs of her leg-spinners, Luus now has a designated role. It is certainly paying dividends with her last seven innings, including the two World Cup warm-up matches, being: 46, 56, 47, 86, 0, 25 and 62.

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Luus’s positive run has certainly helped out a misfiring top-order. Star opener Lizelle Lee’s much-anticipated return after a six-month absence from the Proteas did not yield the immediate positive results after being caught behind for just two, but the ICC ODI Player of the Year will be much better for it having now spent some time out in the field too.

The real concern is the critical No 3 position and the inability of its incumbent to adequately rotate the strike. With Lee restored as Wolvaardt’s opening partner, Tazmin Brits replaced Lara Goodall at first drop but there was no change in the result. Brits laboured to an 18-ball two which stifled any momentum in the opening 10-over Powerplay.

South Africa could do worse than consider the possible return of Trisha Chetty to the top. The Proteas wicket-keeper begun her career as an opener and No 3 and is certainly in good touch with her cameo of 31 off just 26 balls at the backend crucial in the context of this match.

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Chetty showed positive intent at the crease from the outset by employing both the sweep and reverse-sweep, while not afraid to go the aerial route too.

The Proteas are fortunate though that they are blessed with one the most potent bowling units in the competition.

Furthermore, the bowlers have learnt their lessons quickly at the World Cup as they were much more disciplined in limiting the extras after a wayward outing against Bangladesh last week.

Shabnim Ismail (3/43) was also back to her best again with the new ball with the Proteas speedster on a hat-trick early on. The double-wicket strike included the massive scalp of Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof for a first-ball duck.

She then returned at the death to deliver a fine last over that was highlighted by a brilliant running caught and bowled catch to dismiss Diana Baig.

The remainder of the bowlers performed their roles to perfection with Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka and Masabata Klaas closing out the game despite Pakistan’s Omaima Sohail (60), Nida Dar (55) and Nahida Khan (40) pushing the Proteas all the way in the run chase.


South Africa: 223/9 (Wolvaardt 75, Luus 61)

Pakistan: 217 all out (Sohail 65, Dar 55, Ismail 3/41)

Result: South Africa won by 6 runs


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