Despite the excellent all-round efforts of Sune Luus, the Proteas Women lost 0n the last ball of the match against the Southern Stars in their first ODI in Canberra.
Australia stalwart Ellyse Perry was the star for the hosts as she guided her side to a two-wicket victory against the Proteas Women in the opening clash of the five-match series.
Perry hit an unbeaten, career-best 93 from 107 deliveries (6×4, 2×6) to lead her side to victory with just one ball to spare.
South Africa did well to post a competitive 226-5 at the end of their innings after electing to bat first. They got off to a flying start thanks to a 52-run opening stand between Lizelle Lee (38) and Sune Luus. When Lee lost her wicket to Kristen Beams (1-31) in the ninth over, Luus added 67 more runs for the second wicket with Mignon du Preez (37) to move South Africa past the 100-run mark. Luus reached her second ODI half-century, but could not surpass her career-best 52 runs, departing on the same score she had posted against Ireland in August.
Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk also chipped in with 29 and 23 runs respectively to round off the most notable contributions of the innings.
Australia stumbled in their reply when they lost Elyse Villani for two to Ayabonga Khaka (2-52) at the end of the first over. Luus was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-52. She broke key partnerships involving Perry with Alex Blackwell (25) and Jess Jonassen (21), but it was the 48-run, sixth-wicket stand with Alyssa Healy (28) that pushed the hosts closer to victory.
The Southern Stars lost Grace Harris and Megan Shutt, both on five in the 47th and the start of the last over, but Perry held her nerve and showed her experience, powering her side to victory with a boundary to win the match.
This loss rules South Africa out of the running for the fourth place in the ICC Women’s Championship. The side will now have to take part in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 tournament in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 7-21 February to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images