A strong opening partnership and timely strikes with the ball were instrumental in South Africa Women beating Bangladesh Women by 17 runs in the first Twenty20 International at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Thursday (May 17).
Opting to bat first, South Africa rode on a stand of 77 by Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt to make 127 for 6. In reply, Bangladesh started steadily but ran out of steam to finish on 110 for 5.
Opening together in a T20I for the first time, Lee and Wolvaardt were aggressive in their approach. They were together for 9.4 overs before Rumana Ahmed had Wolvaardt stumped for 30 off 22 balls, which included three fours.
The wicket marked the start of a wonderful little period for Bangladesh, as they clawed their way back into the game through the spin duo of Khadija Tul Kubra and Rumana.
Four balls after Wolvaardt’s departure, Khadija bowled Lee for a 38-ball 46 (six fours and one six). South Africa lost Wolvaardt and Lee at the same score of 77, and three more wickets fell quickly. That included the dangerous Chloe Tryon, making her T20I captaincy debut in place of the rested Dane van Niekerk, as the score became 86 for 5 in 13 overs.
Kubra (3 for 23) and Rumana (2 for 19) had firm control over South Africa before a sixth-wicket stand of 27 runs between Marizanne Kapp and Sune Luus revived the innings.
Salma Khatun removed Kapp for 11, but Luus’s unbeaten 23-ball 28, which included two fours and a six, helped South Africa add 41 runs in the last seven overs, which proved crucial in the final analysis.
Bangladesh began unsteadily and were soon 14 for 2 in their chase before Rumana (35 off 41 balls) and Fargana Hoque (35 off 37 balls) steadied the innings with a stand of 72, Bangladesh’s third-best partnership in T20Is.
The game was well poised with Bangladesh needing 48 off the last five overs with eight wickets in hand, but Shabnim Ismail turned the game in one over. Ismail struck twice in three balls, sending Rumana and Nigar Sultana back, as Bangladesh fell to 86 for 4 in 16 overs.
After that they needed someone to up the tempo, but another big blow came in the 18th over when Masabata Klaas sent Hoque back.
Bangladesh needed 33 off the last 13 balls, but could score only 15. Ismail was South Africa’s best bowler, with figures of 3 for 19.