The Proteas got their campaign off to good start with a narrow three-run win in the first One-Day International (ODI) against Pakistan Women at Kingsmead Stadium, in Durban.
After Pakistan won the toss and elected to bowl first the Proteas were restricted to a modest 200/9 in their 50 overs with Marizanne Kapp and Laura Wolvaardt the standout batters with scores of 47 and 40 respectively.
The visitors got two early wickets through their seam bowler Diana Baig to put the hosts on the back foot with the wickets of Lizelle Lee (0) in the opening over and that of captain Sune Luus (12) who was clean bowled leaving the Proteas reeling on 24/2 after five overs.
Instead of crumbling under pressure, Wolvaardt and Lara Goodall stabilized the innings with a partnership of 60 until the latter tried to sweep one off Nashra Sandhu’s bowling only to be clean bowled. Despite her usual busy self with three boundaries in a composed 40 off 62 deliveries Wolvaardt soon followed, trying to get a quick run that led to a brilliant run out from the visitors.
With the hosts on 88/4 Mignon du Preez and Marizanne Kapp were left with the responsibility of rebuilding again and their 5th wicket stand of 64 pushed the Proteas to a respectable score of 200.
In their response chasing 201, Pakistan failed to get any partnerships going as the Proteas took no mercy with the ball as they claimed key wickets in the first 10 overs without conceding many runs. Shabnim Ismail was the first to strike with the wicket of Muneeba Ali caught behind for a single run. Next to follow was Nahida Khan (13) who was run out by Ismail.
Javeria Khan was the third to fall also caught behind off the bowling of debutant Nonkululeko Mlaba with the scoreboard on 42 at the tenth over, before Omaima Sohail compiled 37 off 67 balls and Sidra Nawaz was soon out LBW from the bowling of Tumi Sekhukhune for a single run.
Omaima Sohail (37 off 67) and Nida Dar steered Pakistan in the right direction before Sohail was run out. Ismail got back in on the action and took two more wickets to seal victory for the Proteas.
Image courtesy: Cricket South Africa.