MOMENTUM PROTEAS WIN OPENING MATCH

The Momentum Proteas got their 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup campaign off to a winning start when they beat Pakistan by three wickets at Grace Road in Leicester on Sunday. This win marks the side’s highest-ever World Cup run chase after they were set a 207-run target by Sana Mir’s charges.

With Pakistan put in to bat first, Bibi Nahida represented a crucial presence at the crease as fellow opener Ayesha Zafar (nine) and then Javeria Wadood were all bowled by Marizanne Kapp and Moseline Daniels respectively for 43/2.

With just 20 runs managed inside the second 10 overs, it was looking like hard work for Pakistan.

But Bibi – who was dropped by Ayabonga Khaka on 26 – brought up her half-century off 75 balls to steady the ship. Her effort eventually ended when she was run out by Ismail but Pakistan boosted its total later on despite losing Sana Mir and Marina Iqbal off Ismail’s bowling in the final over.

The South Africa openers set about their business well early on with Lee bringing up 1 500 runs in ODI cricket with a six over mid-on before reaching her 10th ODI fifty in dramatic fashion as Sadia dropped a catch at long-on to concede four.

But when Lee and Wolvaardt – who brought up her fourth ODI fifty off 81 balls – were dismissed in the 26th and 31st overs respectively, panic seemed to spread through the South Africa team.

Trisha Chetty (11) was caught at midwicket by Javeria before the latter ran out Kapp (one), Chloe Tryon (three) was bowled by Sadia and captain Dane van Niekerk (two) was another run-out victim, this time by Nain, with four wickets lost for 19 runs.

Mignon du Preez then holed out to Asmavia Iqbal at deep midwicket but Ismail held her nerve.

Losing six wickets in 49 runs was not ideal, but Ismail made her biggest contribution in the game yet, smashing three boundaries in the second-last over to secure victory for her side.

Ismail said: “It’s really important to start tournaments like this on a positive note because it gives you momentum going into the next matches. The confidence boost from today’s game is going to take us a long way in this tournament, just that belief that we can pull off a win even when it looks as though we are down and out showed us that we are capable of more.

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