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|Nadine de Klerk||15||18||1||0||83.33|
|Dane van Niekerk||33||19||6||1||173.68|
|Nilakshi de Silva||4||8||0||0||50.00|
|Dane van Niekerk||3.0||0||17||0||5.67|
South African Women got off to a flying start in their ongoing home T20I series as they thrashed the visitors, Sri Lanka, by a comfortable seven-wicket margin. The two teams will meet each other once again to play the second match of the series at Johannesburg on 3rd February. With just a day and a half between the first and second match of the series, Sri Lanka won't really have much time to ponder about their loss in the opening game. However, that Cape Town outing would have allowed them to get a feel of South African conditions and we expect them to come out hard in the upcoming fixture.
Coming off a decent outing in Women's Big Bash League, South African skipper Dane van Niekerk continued to build her on superb T20 form as she single-handedly helped her team go past the visitors in the opening game of the series.
Bowling first after losing the toss, South Africa's opening pair with the ball, Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail never allowed Sri Lankan batswomen to get going. Just when the Islanders were looking to launch in the middle and the slog overs, Klaas and Dane van Niekerk bowled beautifully, picking five wickets between them.
Sri Lanka could get to only 90 in their allotted 20 overs which was chased with ease at the end. The chase of 91 was set-up by Dane van Niekerk, who picked up three of 12 with the ball. She scored 71 from 55 deliveries and despite no support from the remaining players, the Proteas overhauled the total with seven wickets and plenty of overs in hand. The only visible concern for South Africa is the fitness of Lizelle Lee, who has been ruled out of the series. The void in the opening was clearly visible as the women at Dane van Niekerk's opposite end didn't look as convincing Lizelle Lee had been in the past few years.
Dane van Niekerk, Tazmin Brits, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Lara Goodall, Faye Tunnicliffe, Masabata Klaas, Nadine de Klerk, Saarah Smith, Tumi Sekhukhune, Shabnim Ismail.
Sri Lanka's inexperience was clearly on display in the opening game as their batsmen failed to adjust to the pace and bounce of Cape Town. Barring Mendis and Perera, who too took too much time to score 27, none of their batters looked settled in the middle.
Imalka Mendis tried hard to push their total over a hundred, but lack of support in the lower middle-order did the Islanders. Mendis scored 25 runs off just 24 deliveries and was easily the pick of Sri Lankan batswomen.
It was never going to be easy to defend the 91-run under-par total regardless of the surface and it didn't prove to be any different for the Islanders. Although Nilakshi de Silva and Achini Kulasuriya picked up a wicket each, it wasn't really enough to prevent South Africa from chasing the total.
Hasini Perera, Anushka Sanjeewani, Nilakshi de Silva, Chamari Atapattu, Udeshika Prabodhani, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Shashikala Siriwardene, Imalka Mendis, Umesha Thimashini, Inoka Ranaweera, Achini Kulasuriya.
Sri Lanka failed to adapt to the conditions at Cape Town and were eventually thrashed comprehensively in the opening game. The absence of their regular skipper, Chamari Atapattu, didn't help and her availability for the second match is still uncertain. South Africa, on the other hand, despite the absence of Lizelle Lee did reasonably well and are firm favorites to win the upcoming match at Johannesburg as well.
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