Dinesha Devnarain scored three off the last ball for the Proteas Women to beat Ireland by six wickets in the first T20 international.
The first of two T20s against Ireland went the way of the South Africans, but it could have been very different as the Irish almost stunned the tourists if it weren’t for an overthrow.
Ireland, not part of the ICC Women’s Championship and not expected to cause the Proteas Women too much trouble, took their opponents to the very last ball and had them needing over 10 runs to the over with seven overs remaining, but South Africa, steered by the experienced Mignon du Preez, saw them draw first blood in the series.
Missing several of their key players due to their participation in the Kia Super League in England, the Proteas allowed the Irish to post a competitive 140-4 from their allotted overs. Opening bowler Moseline Daniels (1-18) and Sune Luus (2-24) were the pick of the bowlers.
In response the tourists lost Trisha Chetty early on (7 off 16) as the run rate started to climb, but debutant Laura Wolvaardt, who turned 17 in April, kept her side going with former skipper Du Preez as they built up a 45-run stand.
Wolvaardt (24) departed, but Du Preez held her nerve despite the middle order falling around her. Her 55 off 41 balls was ultimately a match-winning one, as skipper Devnarain, filling in for Loughborough Lightning’s Dane van Niekerk, scored 20 off 11 to complete the job. Devnarain was part of a dramatic last-ball situation however, as a scamper for two ended in three after a sloppy piece of fielding led to an overthrow.
The valiant Irish will have to try again in the second T20 on Wednesday, before the ODI series commences.
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