The Momentum Proteas have secured a vital T20 World Cup win when they rose to occasion in their opening Group B fixture of ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020 to sensationally beat England by six wickets at the WACA in Perth on Sunday.
Fittingly on the occasion of her 100th Twenty20 International match, Mignon du Preez scored a six and a four in the final over to take South Africa to their maiden win over England in T20 World Cups.
“I’ve always known that I’ve had it in me to be a match-winner, and to do it in my 100th game is really special,” said du Preez.
“For me, this was an opportunity to step up, I’m a senior player, I’ve played in 100 T20s, the most experienced in the team, and I think that was the person to finish off for the team.”
Complimented on her bowling, Player of the Match, SA skipper Dané van Niekerk, said: “Yeah, surprisingly well. I believe England is one of the best players of spin in the world, and I was a bit nervous coming up against them. We spoke a lot about our preparation and planning, and it’s always nice when the planning comes together.
“I have to give credit to my other bowlers as well, Ayabonga, Shabnim, Marizanne and Nonkulukelo, couldn’t have done it without them. I’m really proud, honestly, it was a team performance today!”
South Africa won the toss and put England in to bat. England started well, scoring nine off the first over, but the Proteas then put a clamp on the England run rate, restricting the tournament favourites to 123 for eight.
Marizanne Kapp made the initial breakthrough in the fourth over, when she had Amy Jones caught by Chloe Tryon for 23. Jones skied the ball and Tryon made the catch look easy. Ayabonga took the first of her three wickets in the next over, with Danielle Wyatt caught by Lizelle Lee for two.
The South African bowlers kept the England batters in check, taking wickets regularly and preventing the run rate from getting out of hand. Captain Dané van Niekerk nabbed the wicket of her England counterpart, Heather Knight, for six, with Shabnim Ismail taking a brilliant running catch just inside the boundary.
At the halfway mark, England had just 50 runs for the loss of three wickets. Just as Natalie Sciver was beginning to look threatening, a slower ball from Khaka sent her off-stump cartwheeling for 46.
Khaka finished with three for 25. Van Niekerk took two for 20 and Kapp two for 19.
The South Africans needed 124 runs to win and strengthen their chances of going through to the semifinals next week. Van Niekerk opened the batting with Lizelle Lee, who went very early, caught by Lauren Winfield off Anya Shrubsole for four.
Van Niekerk was joined by Kapp and the two of them put on 84 runs together before Kapp was caught and bowled by Sarah Glenn for 38 in the 16th over. Van Niekerk was out in the next over, caught by Tamsin Beamont off Sophie Ecclestone for 46, including two sixes.
Chloe Tryon came and went for 12 off 12 balls, and then it was up to De Preez and Sune Luus to take the team home. With one over left, South Africa needed nine runs. Du Preez drew on the experience of 100 matches to score a massive six and a four to win the match with two balls to spare.
Van Niekerk was named Player of the match and the strains of “Shosholoza” echoed around the ground.
South Africa’s next match is against Thailand on Friday.
South Africa Playing 11:
Dané van Niekerk
Mignon du Preez
Momentum Proteas Group B Fixtures and Results at the ICC T20 World Cup (All SA times):
23 Feb 2020 – South Africa beat England by six wickets at the WACA in Perth
28 Feb 2020 (05:00) – South Africa v Thailand (Manuka Oval, Canberra)
1 Mar 2020 (05:00) – South Africa v Pakistan (Sydney Showground Stadium)
3 Mar 2020 (10:00) – West Indies v South Africa (Sydney Showground Stadium)
Photo 1 caption: The team poses for a historic celebration, smiles all after the Momentum Proteas beat England – for the first time in T20 World Cups – by six wickets in their first fixture at the ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020, at the WACA in Perth on Sunday, 23 February, 2020. Photo: ICC
Photo 2 caption: Dané van Niekerk of South Africa looks on as Heather Knight of England tosses the coin prior to the match. Photo: ICC
Photo 3 caption: South Africa run out to field for the first time at the ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020. Photo: ICC
Photo 4 caption: Marizanne Kapp celebrates the wicket of England opening bat Amy Jones, a turning moment in the England batting innings. Photo: ICC