SA Women leave it to series decider as they go down to Sri Lanka

NADINE de Klerk captained South Africa in the second T20I against Srie Lanka no Saturday. | Archives

NADINE de Klerk captained South Africa in the second T20I against Srie Lanka no Saturday. | Archives

Published Mar 30, 2024


A fighting half century from Vishmi Gunaratne saw Sri lanka home as they levelled the series 1-1 at the JB Marks oval in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

Sri Lanka managed to shake off their early mistakes in the field to beat South Africa by seven wickets and set up an exciting series decider in Buffalo Park on Wednesday.

Following a perfect all-round 79 runs victory at Willowmoore park in Benoni, the Proteas batting performance was far from perfect as they set a below par 137 target after their 20 overs. Sri Lanka needed only 18.5 overs to chase down the target.

Nadine de Klerk captained South Africa with regular captain and centurion in the first T20, Laura Wolvaardt missing out due to illness. South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first

Anika Bosch and debutant Karabo Meso were the two changes for South Africa. Bosch coming in for Wolvaardt looked in good touch and opened the batting with Tasmin Brits, who for the second match in a row, didn’t last long as she was out for seven .

South Africa benefited from Sri Lanka’s poor fielding and seemed to be on track for a big score. Bosch and Marizanne Kapp on the attack, combined for a 58 run partnership for the second wicket. Bosch dropped on 40, didn’t cash in as she didn’t last long after scoring her half century, and was dismissed for 50 off 32 balls.

Kaap, has been in good touch and seems to have found a new home at number three. If persisted with, it’s a position that will see her face a lot of deliveries and being one of the best batters in the line up, the move stands to benefit South Africa moving ahead

Kapp, dropped on 10, followed her half century in Benoni with another impressive knock of 44 off 36 balls, before she was caught by Inoka Ranaweera in the covers off the bowling of Inoshi Priyadharshani attempting to hit her second cover drive of the over.

Meso’s first outing with the bat lasted only two balls with the youngster bowled off a yorker from Chamari Athapaththu for a duck.

Sri Lanka seemed to get their act together and started to dry out runs and their ground fielding improving remarkably with only 25 runs conceded off 32 balls between overs 10 and the 16th. They squeezed South Africa into mistakes and the Proteas lost three wickets in runouts.

Achini Kulasuriya the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2-26 with the rest of the bowlers also having a good day out to restrict the home side to 137.

In response,Gunaratne knock 65 off 57 included 9x4 and 6x1 and set the tone for the rest of the batters to bat around her.

Tumi Sekhukhune and South Africa needing an early breakthrough would have been happy to restrict Sri Lanka to 25-0 in 4.5 overs but knew the only way to win the match was through picking up wickets. Sekhukhune and Meso combined well to get rid of Athapaththu (6) for a timely breakthrough as prior to the wicket, Sekhukhune went for nine runs.

Vishmi Gunaratne and Harshitha Samarawickrama put on a 31 run partnership and the pair of them were slowly reducing the target, and seemingly putting the visitors in a good position to chase it down, until Harshitha’s off stump was disturbed by Chloe Tryon bringing back the Proteas in the match.

With more overs being bowled and the score reducing with every ball that passes, it was becoming Increasingly important for the Proteas to pick up the wicket of Gunaratne who in her anchor role was joined by Kavisha Dilhari.

The pair put on a match winning partnership of 76 runs with Dilhari relieving Gunaratne off some pressure as she took the role of the aggressor, hitting herself to 45 off 28 balls. Her innings was free flowing and included six fours as her side got the much needed win going into the decider.