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February 18, 2008
South Africa 15 for 0 beat Bermuda 13 (Loubser 6-3) by ten wickets
Bermuda's women carved an unwanted niche in the international record books with one of the most abject performances in the game's history. In their opening match of the World Cup Qualifiers at Stellenbosch University, they were bowled out for 13 and then South Africa took only four balls to sweep to a ten-wicket win.
Bermuda's men haven't made much of a positive impact in the game either - eleven months ago, they conceded 413 for 5 against India in the World Cup and lost by 257 runs, the biggest margin in one-day history. But their women have just lowered the bar by several notches.
They crawled to 7 for 2 after ten overs, but that represented the high-water mark. By the time drinks were taken after 15.5 overs they were 13 for 7 and had lost their 42-year-old captain, Linda Mienzer, for a determined 1 off 48 deliveries. Such was the confusion that when play resumed the batsmen returned to the wrong ends.
The last three wickets failed to add to the score as Sunette Loubser finished with 6 for 3, including 5 for 1 in 12 balls.
Terry-Lynn Paynter opened Bermuda's attack but struggled to find the cut strip, conceding nine wides and a no-ball. Olivia Anderson did manage to reach one, which she dispatched for four.
The statistics of the match are mindboggling. Eight Bermudans failed to get off the mark, and the three that did only managed a single each. Ten of the runs that helped make up their meagre score were extras - 71%. South Africa's score of 15 for 0 was also made up of ten extras - nine wides and a no-ball. Anderson scored 50% of the runs scored off the bat in the match, and 80% of her side's runs.
Unfortunately for South Africa, but mercifully for the record-books, Bermuda's debacle does not count towards the official statistics because they are ranked outside the world's top ten countries. "I am disappointed that today's stats don't count for nothing," said Loubser, "but I would say it was a team effort to win the opening match of the tournament.
Bermuda's captain, Mienzer, tried desperately to put a positive gloss on the performance. "I am extremely proud and our team is very proud to be here," she said. "Just a year and a half ago there was no women's programme so we went to Canada and qualified to come here which is an achievement in itself. In terms of women's cricket in Bermuda, it has come a long way but we still have a long way to go."
South Africa's next match is against equally unheralded opponents, Papua New Guinea, on Tuesday. "We are taking one match at a time and we are happy that we are off to a good start," said Loubser. "It should augur well for the whole tournament. We don't know anything about our next opponents, but that doesn't mean we should rest on our laurels. We should be ready for anything."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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