A batting collapse saw the South Africa women’s team suffer an eight-wicket defeat to India in the final of the Cricket South Africa Women’s Quadrangular series in Potchefstroom on Sunday.
Jhulan Goswami and Poonam Yadav shared six wickets between them, restricting the hosts to a modest 156 in 40.2 overs after putting them in to bat first.
Fellow opener, Sune Luus top scored with 55 runs off 74 deliveries on her 50th ODI for South Africa and tried to steady the ship with Mignon du Preez after she lost Trisha Chetty for six in the sixth.
Du Preez (30) complimented Luus well and together, put on 73 runs for the fourth wicket before the former was caught behind off Shikha Pandey (2/23).
The beginning of the end came as South Africa moved from 117/4 after the loss of Luus to Yadav in the 28th, to 145/8 exactly 10 overs later. They then promptly lost Marizanne Kapp and Nadine de Klerk for 18 and 10 respectively as South Africa slipped to 131/6.
The Proteas stand-in captain, Chloe Tryon added 20 vital runs to the tally, but the ducks of Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka kept the home side on the backfoot for the remainder of their innings.
India’s Punam Raut set up her side’s reply, hitting an unbeaten 70 from 92 balls to get her side to victory.
The opener absorbed the pressure well when she lost opening partner Deepti Sharma to Ismail for eight in the ninth over and continued to forge ahead when Mona Meshram succumbed to Kapp for two.
She and her skipper, Mithali Raj (62*) shared the match-winning, unbeaten 127-run, third-wicket partnership that took their side all the way.
Proteas captain captain Tryon was disappointed to lose the series, but believes that the team has gathered the information that they need going into the ICC Women’s World Cup in England next month.
Tyron said after the game: “It’s been a good quadrangular series for us, I just like today didn’t show that, but we’ve definitely gotten what we wanted out of this tournament in terms of looking ahead to the bigger picture, which is preparation for the World Cup.”
Proteas coach Hilton Moreeng is satisfied that his team has given him and the national selectors a good headache looking ahead to the announcement of the World Cup squad this coming week.
“It’s a good headache to have,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve had this problem in women’s cricket in a really long time.
“It’s great to see players putting up their hands and demanding to be counted, it bodes well for the future and also for the World Cup itself.
“From a series point of view, I’m happy with what we have achieved, today didn’t go as planned, but I’ve seen enough exciting performances from this team during this quadrangular to make me happy going into final discussions about the World Cup.”