After losing their openers Lizelle Lee and skipper Dane van Niekerk for a duck, it required something special from the South Africans to pick up from there.
On Sunday, at Adelaide, winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Sri Lanka sent the Proteas’ opening pair back to the dugout in three overs. Left-arm medium pace bowler Udeshika Prabodhani bowled a dream spell first up to give her team a stupendous start. To consolidate, Marizanne Kapp (44) and Mignon du Preez (28) came together to score a fifty run partnership. Marizanne and Mignon were cautious to begin with as the South Africans had lost two early wickets. They scored at almost run a ball taking no undue risks and scoring of loose deliveries.
Laura Wolvaardt (38) joined hands with Kapp to put on a respectable total on board. Wolvaardt was a treat to watch as she smashed five boundaries and a six. Coming down the order, Chloe Tryon did just what the doctor ordered as she belted a nine-ball 23 to take the South Africans to 146-5 in 20 overs. Tryon’s cameo comprised of a solitary boundary and two big hits over the fence. For the Lankans, skipper Chamari Athapaththu rolled her arm over to pick up 2-28, thus giving good support to pace ace Prabodhani who scalped 2-8 in her four overs.
After getting off to a wonderful start, Sri Lanka would have looked to chase anything around the 110-120 run mark. However, the Proteas came hard at them to put a formidable score on board. Chasing 147 at over seven runs per over meant that Athapaththu and co. were required to put up a good show with the bat. However, they were reduced to 105-8 in 20 overs, falling short of 41 runs. In a rare failure, skipper Chamari was outdone by Ayabonga Khaka as she managed to score just one run.
Sri Lankans got off to starts but failed to capitalize as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Lower order bat Ama Kanchana top-scored with an unbeaten 24 (15) to take her team over the 100 run mark. For the Proteas, it was Sune Luus who spun the web around the Lankans as she picked up 4-20 in her four overs. Luus’ bowling performance will give a lot of confidence to the South African team which is primarily a pace dominated outfit.
South Africa will play its second practice match against the defending champions Australia on February 18 while Sri Lanka will lock horns against England in a warm-up tie on February 19.
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