South Africa’s hopes of achieving a 5-0 white-wash of the touring Pakistan Women’s Cricket Team was dashed by weather at Sinovich Park in Pretoria on Sunday, but not before the hosts racked up another match-winning first-innings total.
Seventeen-year old Mignon du Preez came good for SA Women in the abandoned match with her debut half-century 55 (not out) in 69 balls, including 6 boundaries coming up in her third ODI.
Opener Claire Terblanche top-scored for SA, her 61 runs including 7 fours to create a critical platform for the side’s total of 281 for six wickets in their 50 overs.
Sunette Loubser and Trisha Chetty again applied their abilities to brisk runs contributions, their efforts at opposite ends of the score card combining for 48 runs in 48 balls.
For Pakistan, Sana Mir’s bowling figures were best, claiming the wickets of opening batswoman Terblanche and no. 4 batswoman Kirsten Blair, bowled for 2 in her second cap for South Africa.
Mir’s contribution with the ball was only bettered by the economy of the ever-consistent Sajjida Shah, whose 10 overs cost 27 runs for the scalp of captain Cri-Zelda Brits.
Brit’s 8 runs in the final ODI gave her a total of 183 in the series, and the satisfaction of a comprehensive home series win will do much to build confidence in a side who will shortly face the big guns on sub-continent wickets in effort to qualify for the 2009 World Cup in Australia.
Before weather brought a frustrating end to the match, Pakistan women batted out 11 overs of the initial Power Plays overs, and again struggled to make inroads into the required total.
Opening partners Tasqeen Qadeer and Bismah Mahroof kept their wickets to the close of play, but only made 16 and 19 runs respectively, off the 33 balls each faced.
A contest between SA Women and the tourists under Pakistan’s home conditions might tell another story about this contest, but in South Africa, Pakistan struggled to accumulate runs at the needed rate in every match played.
Coach Noor Rhode and his squad will be savouring the degree of success achieved in this tour, but will be mindful of the admittedly steep task lying ahead in Pakistan.
For the South African Women to qualify for the 2009 World Cup in Australia, they have to finish first or second in a two-group tournament in Pakistan this November.
SA will contest the first stage against Bermuda, Papua New Guinea and either Scotland or Holland, after which the team will encounter the winners of the second group, which includes Ireland, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
Coach Rhode and his team are afforded great preparation in a July four-match ODI tour of Holland, before playing England Under-21’s and New Zealand in final warm-up matches before the Pakistan shoot-out.
Apart from that, there appears to be a building dynamic among the team-mates who have now enjoyed an unbroken run of four victories, the first international exposure since the tour by the West Indies in the wake of a disappointing 2005 home World Cup.