The South Africa women got their ICC Women's World T20 tournament off to a flyer of a start when they beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the opening match of the tournament in Galle on Wednesday. This is the team's first victory in the history of the tournament. An inspired fielding performance by the visitors saw them restrict their hosts to 79 with an incredible five run outs to settle the match in their favour.
"This is our first win ever in a T20 World Cup so it's something really special for the girls. This will be that little something that gives us more momentum going into the rest of the matches in the group stages," SA captain Mignon du Preez said.
Everything seemed to go South Africa's way after they won the toss and chose to field first after the start of the match was delayed by half an hour because of a wet outfield. Du Preez's side took control of the match from the first ball, leaving nothing to chance. Sri Lanka had lost six wickets for 34 runs in 12 overs before Dilani Surangika and Deepika Rasangika (7) shared a partnership of 31 runs to slow down the pace of the game.
The bowlers were all on target with Susan Benade and Dané van Niekerk the stand-out performers, taking two wickets for seven and two wickets for nine respectively.
South Africa made a good start to their innings. Shandré Fritz (14) and Trisha Chetty put on 29 runs for the opening partnership before the former was dismissed at the start of the sixth over. Susan Benade added seven runs before she was caught behind off Rasangika in the 10th over, followed two balls later by Du Preez, who was run out for 5.
Chetty played a Player of the Match winning innings, scoring 33 off 40 balls at a strike rate of 82.50 before she was dismissed by Inoka Ranaweera. Van Niekerk scored 15 off 25 balls, including the winning runs to give South Africa victory with 16 balls to spare.
"This was a great bounce back by the ladies after the warm-up game against England. The discipline and the controlled aggression shown on the field set this game up for us," said coach Yaseen Ebrahim. "I am quietly excited and confident of our chances. This is an achievement but we still need to secure one more win to secure that semi-final berth that will definitely be the icing on the cake."
South Africa will face New Zealand on Friday, 28 September. Du Preez looks forward to the match and maintains that being the underdog in the match up will be of greater advantage for South Africa.
"We don't have anything to lose going into this match because we are the underdogs, but all the pressure is on New Zealand, who have been in the last two semi-finals. We are just going to go out there and play our hearts out and make sure they never forget the day they played us," she concluded.