Cricket - Captain, Dané van Niekerk and Shabnim Ismail took seven wickets between them, setting up an eight-wicket victory for the Proteas in their must-win, ICC Women’s World Cup match against Sri Lanka at the County Ground in Taunton on Wednesday.
This win means that the South Africans have qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament for only the second time ever. The last time the team achieved this feat was at the 2000 edition of the competition.
Van Niekerk is delighted with this accomplishment, she said;
“This is what we have been working so many years for and I’m so proud of the team for all the work they have put in. We can tick this box now and celebrate the fact that we have achieved one of our objectives going into the competition with a match to spare.
“There’s still a game against Australia that needs to be won in the round-robin stage though, and we have a long competition still to get through and we’ll be focussing on that too.”
Sri Lanka, who remain winless in the competition, were restricted to 101 thanks to the South African skipper and consecutive Player of the Match, who returned remarkable figures of 4/24 in eight overs, while Ismail was equally impressive with 3/14 in 7.3. Sri Lanka could not contend with the rampant Proteas, Dilani Manodara and Chamari Polgampola managed an equal high score of 25 from 49 and 61 balls respectively before their dismissals.
Suné Luus, Marizanne Kapp and Masabata Klaas, who played her first World Cup match, were the other wicket contributors, taking a respective 1/12, 1/13 and 1/17.
The Proteas’ chase began with the wicket of the team’s leading run scorer, Lizelle Lee off the fourth delivery of the innings, she was caught behind off Sripali Weerakkody (1/22) without scoring. The only other wicket to fall was Trisha Chetty, who was clean bowled by Sri Lanka captain, Inoka Ranaweera (1/20) for 13.
Eighteen-year-old Laura Wolvaardt (48* off 66) led the chase with patience and maturity and, along with Mignon du Preez (38* off 53), helped the side reach their target with 161 balls to spare.
South Africa’s sights will be set on Australia, whom they will face at the same ground on Saturday.