WT20 : Women’s Protea lose their opening match against Australia
Alex Blackwell and Australia skipper, Meg Lanning shared an unbeaten 52-run, fifth-wicket stand to secure a six-wicket win over the Momentum Proteas in Nagpur on Friday. This was both teams’ first Group A appearance in this year’s ICC Women’s World T20.
South Africa were once again restricted to a score just above the hundred-run mark (102/6) after winning the toss and electing to bat first. Openers, Dané van Niekerk and Trisha Chetty (34) got the innings off to a fine start… with a 72-run partnership before the dismissal of the former for 45 at the hands of Kristen Beams in the 13th over.
Another middle order batting collapse ensued. No one managed more runs than captain, Mignon du Preez’ 12 from 18 balls after the good foundation set by the opening pair. Lizelle Lee (1), Marizanne Kapp (1), Sune Luus (2) and Dinesha Devnarain (0) fell cheaply, leaving their side feeling that perhaps they were 20 to 30 runs short of a competitive total in the end.
Australia’s reply did not get off to a smooth start either. Shabnim Ismail (2/15) and Kapp (1/21) did well to clamp down the batters’ progress at the start of the innings, getting rid of Alyssa Healy, Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry for four, five and none respectively. The defending champions were 9/3 after 3.4 overs, but showed their experience when they were dug out of trouble by Jess Jonassen and Blackwell’s 44-run, fourth-wicket partnership. Blackwell continued in the same vein with Lanning (30) after they lost Jonassen at the hands of van Niekerk for 16 at the start of the 13th over and played a patient innings, winning with nine balls to spare in the end. Her 42 runs came off 46 balls including just four boundaries.
A disappointed Mignon du Preez said:
“The way Dané (van Niekerk) and Trish(a) (Chetty) batted up front gave us a solid start, but unfortunately in the middle periods and close to the end we just didn’t manage to get the ball away. Scoring 103 runs in these conditions is never going to be easy to try and defend.
“I think the bowlers did brilliantly to get us that close,” she continued. “As a team, we definitely competed until the very end, but unfortunately we needed another 20 to 30 runs more.”
South Africa have five days before their next assignment against Ireland in Chennai on 23 March. Du Preez believes that the side can bounce back from their loss.
“As batters, we need to sit and work on game plans that will help us get to bigger totals from any point in the game. We are one game down, but it’s not how you start in the tournament that’s important, it’s how you finish,” she concluded.