Bowlers, Chetty set up clinical SA win
South Africa Women 139 for 3 (Chetty 53, Kapp 44*) beat Sri Lanka Women 136 (Atapattu 36, Van Niekerk 3-25) by 7 wickets
South Africa Women took a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka Women by cruising to a seven-wicket win in Potchefstroom. After their bowlers restricted Sri Lanka to 136, the hosts' batsmen marched to victory with more than 12 overs to spare.
Sri Lanka lost both openers within the first 10 overs to pacer Shabnim Ismal, after they were put in to bat. No. 3 Chamari Atapattu held one end together but didn't get much company. Dilani Manodara only managed a single-digit score and Sri Lanka suffered another setback when Eshani Lokusuriyage retired hurt in the 25th over. They lost three more wickets, including Atapattu for 36, within the next five overs and were struggling at 97 for 7. Legbreak bowler Dane van Niekerk took three of the first seven wickets to finish with 3 for 25 in 10 overs, including three maidens. Sri Lanka's tail was soon wrapped up by medium-pacer Marcia Letsoalo who took two wickets in consecutive balls, in spite of a brief push when Lokusuriyage came back to bat and scored 17.
Sunette Loubser also finished with two wickets and wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty took four catches and executed a stumping, to finish with five dismissals for the second time in her ODI career.
South Africa were hardly bothered in their chase in spite of losing Lizelle Lee in the first over for a duck. Chetty and Mignon du Preez put on 70 for the second wicket but the stand was broken by Shashikala Siriwardene. Chetty and Marizanne Kapp almost took them home with a 59-run stand before the former was run-out for 53. Kapp smashed two fours in the next six balls she faced to seal the win.
"I think it was a really good team effort that got us to the end result," Chetty said. "The bowlers did a really good job, bowling the right areas to help me take those catches. It's a wonderful feeling to start the series out with such a convincing win, I think we were clinical and showed our intent from the start. I would only like for us to continue getting better as we play. As good as this win feels, it's important to brush up on the bowling areas that need it so we can have a similar, if not better performance in the next game."