The Proteas Women made a slow start to the first ODI against the West Indies Women, but a late rally lifted them to a competitive target.
Skipper Dane van Niekerk handed 19-year-old fast bowler Tumi Sekhukhune her ODI cap after the West Indies had won the toss and sent the Proteas in to bat. The innings got off to a poor start, losing in-form batter Lizelle Lee for a duck in the first over.
The experienced Sune Luus joined 19-year-old opener Laura Wolvaardt at the crease, and the pair added 99 runs for the second wicket. The West Indies bowled well to restrict the run rate, Wolvaardt eventually falling for 45 off 83 balls (three fours, S/R 54.21) with the score on 104.
Luus was trapped leg before by Stafanie Taylor for a well-played 58 off 86 balls (five fours, S/R 67.44), leaving the Proteas Women on 118-3. Van Niekerk and Mignon du Preez also struggled to up the run rate, with the latter being run out for five off 18 balls to leave the Proteas on 134-4 in the 38th over.
Van Niekerk and Chloe Tryon finally got to grips with the West Indies attack – as well as the pitch – adding 32 in a little more than six overs. Tryon departed after scoring a rapid 23 off 14 balls (S/R 164.28), which proved to be an invaluable innings as it helped to wrest some of the initiative away from the West Indies attack.
Two more wickets fell within the next two overs, leaving the Proteas on 169-7, but Van Niekerk pressed on, scoring four fours as she ended the innings not out on 46 off 77 balls (S/R 59.74).
The Proteas captain took her side to 201-9 off their 50 overs to give their strong bowling attack a competitive edge against the West Indies in this opening ODI.
Debutant Sekhukhune scored four not out in her first time at bat, adding an undefeated 15 runs with her captain off the last nine balls of the innings. Her brief time at the crease would hopefully have settled her nicely and given her a feel for the pitch before she gets ball in hand when the West Indies bat.
Taylor (3-37, econ 3.70), Deandra Dottin (2-36, econ 4.50) and Shamilia Connell (1-27, econ 2.70) were the best of the West Indies bowlers in an innings that saw three of the Proteas Women run out and the West Indies bowlers send down 13 wides.
Photo: Cricket South Africa