Dane van Niekerk built on a solid batting base by taking three Bangladeshi wickets and setting up a 106-run victory in the first of five ODIs, in Potchefstroom.
The Bangladeshis folded to 164 in 49.3 overs as they tried to chase a target of 271, established largely by Chloe Tryon’s impressive batting display as she smashed 65 off 42 balls – with nine fours and three sixes – and Lizelle Lee’s 54 off 64.
The Bangladesh women had started well enough, with Sanjida Islam and Fargana Hoque putting on 63 after an early loss to Marizanne Kapp. But Van Niekerk broke that partnership, having Sanjida stumped for 35, and then sending back captain Rumana Ahmed (3) and Nigar Sultana (6) to put Bangladesh in trouble at 82-4. She gave away just 23 runs in her 10 overs of leg spin.
Raisibe Ntozakhe’s off-breaks were even more conservative, giving up just 21 runs, while Tryon picked up 2-14 off five.
Only Hoque dug in, while the rest of the batting lineup collapsed around her. She ended unbeaten on 69 off 146 balls, while Panna Ghosh put up stubborn resistance at No 11, scoring 23 off 27 in a last-wicket stand of 52.
The Proteas’ innings was a rollercoaster ride, with wickets falling in batches and disrupting the rhythm.
Laura Wolvaardt and Lee blasted Bangladesh’s opening seamers for 56 in the first eight overs until the spinners were brought on.
Left-armer Nahida Akter made the breakthrough in the 13th over, bowling Wolvaardt for 26, and along with the off-break of Salma Khatun and Fahima Khatun’s leg breaks, the spinners conceded 42 in the next 15 overs while taking out the top three bats. Among them was Lee, whose 52 contained seven fours and a six.
Mignon du Preez (26) and Van Niekerk (44) stopped that slide with a stand of 63 in 10 overs, but when Du Preez became Akter’s second victim, with the score on 161, the momentum stalled. Just 17 runs were scored in four overs. Tryon then shifted into higher gear and lifted the innings with a contribution of 65.
There was little support, however, the next best score being Masabata Klaas’ 10.
It was an especially satisfying win for the women, whose preparations were disrupted by the loss of their coach in the buildup. Salieg Nackerdien took over when Hilton Moreeng was given compassionate leave on the death of his father.
The Proteas play the second of the five ODIs in Potchefstroom again on Sunday.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images