England’s women followed in the path blazed by the men by beating South Africa by seven wickets, on the D/L calculation, in the first of three ODIs, in Benoni on Sunday.
They were untroubled as they set off to chase down a target of 196 offered by the South Africans in this ICC women’s championship fixture, cruising to 120-3 off 25 overs. That’s when the match was interrupted by lightning and rain and on resumption, Duckworth-Lewis determined that just 30 runs were needed off 10 overs.
The foundation of the Proteas innings was laid by Trisha Chetty, who fought magnificently for her 90 runs off 122 balls (9×4). She shared a hard-fought stand of 93 with captain Mignon du Preez.
The captain has always emphasised the need to work hard between the wickets, and they were indeed made to labour. Of the 38 runs accumulated by Du Preez, just one came from a boundary in the 71 balls she faced. And as solid as the stand was, they could not accelerate above 4.13 an over.
It was unfortunate that Du Preeze fell when she did, the second of Anya Shrubsole’s four victims, for at 119-1 after 30 overs, they were in a good position to up the rate and present a more challenging target.
Shrubsole, who started out by dismissing debutante Laura Wolfvaardt lbw for five, repeated the effort against Marizanne Kapp with an in-swinger first ball, and bowled Lizelle Lee for 12 to reduce the hosts to 137 for four.
Wickets fell regularly and no one was able to provide Chetty with productive support, until she was caught behind off the medium pace of Heather Knight, just 10 runs short of what would have been her first ODI hundred.
The next two ODIs will be played on 12 Feb (Centurion) and Feb 14 (Johannesburg). South Africa’s women are currently in fourth position in the Championship, which is the qualification tournament for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England.
The two sides will play three T20Is in Paarl, Cape Town and Johannesburg on 18th, 19th and 21st February, with the final two fixtures being played as double-headers with South Africa and England men at Newlands and the Wanderers.