MOUNT MAUNGANUI: Half-centuries by Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus and superb bowling under pressure allowed South Africa to edge Pakistan by six runs on Friday in another Women’s Cricket World Cup match which reached the final over.
Wolvaardt made 75 and Luus 62 as South Africa made 223-9, falling just short of a par total as it batted first after losing the toss.
Pakistan were ahead of the run-rate early on and looked in a strong position with wickets in hand through the middle of their innings. But medium-pacers Shabnim Ismael, Marizanne Kapp and Masabata Klaas bowled exacting spells at a crucial time to contain Pakistan, who lost their final wicket with one ball remaining.
A half-century by Nida Dar carried Pakistan close to a victory which would have been one of the most significant in their World Cup history. But she was run out for 55 in the 49th over.
Pakistan hopes had swelled when Diana Baig hit fours from the first two balls of the penultimate over, leaving her team needing 14 runs from 10 deliveries with three wickets in hand.
Nida was run out attempting a second run from the second to last ball of the 49th over and Pakistan came to the last over at 214-8, needing 10 to win.
Ismael had 2-38 from nine overs and stepped up to bowl the last. She took a magnificent catch to dismiss Diana from the second delivery, running back with the ball soaring high and passing over her shoulder.
Ghulam Fatima, who bowled superbly earlier, came out at No. 11 and was run out by the wicket-keeper with one ball remaining.
“As a strike bowler, I like to come out at the death,” Ismael said. “I told [South Africa captain] Sune that I would bowl two at the death.”
South Africa are now third on the World Cup table with two wins from two matches. The tournament is an eight-team round-robin with the top four progressing to the semi-finals.
Ismael said the South Africa players are happy with their progress but the batting may need to improve.
“I think batters need to put their heads down and bat,” she said. “But as long as we are getting the wins it’s okay.”
South Africa’s innings started slowly and they were 29-2 after 10 overs. The pitch at the Bay Oval offered something to both the medium-pacers and slow bowlers and both sides had success when the ball was bowled straight and the pace taken off, limiting the batters scoring options.
Wolvaardt played superbly for her 22nd century in ODIs, adding 89 with Luus for the third wicket.
“I was upset that I didn’t go all the way [to a century],” she said. “My job is to bat through and I didn’t do that. We were looking at a 260-plus score but it was not an easy pitch at all.”
Luus went on to make 62 from 102 balls as Pakistan restrained the scoring through the middle overs. A late 31 from 26 balls by wicket-keeper Trisha Chetty helped lift South Africa to an adequate total.
Pakistan’s chase was a measured one. They edged ahead of the required run-rate early but were also pulled back through the middle overs, going 45 balls without a boundary at a crucial stage.
Omaima Sohail made 65 and Nida followed up with her half-century but they weren’t able to carry Pakistan to their first win in three matches. The late order lacked scoring power, though Diana made 13 from nine balls.
“I think we were clinical with the ball and winning key moments was critical,” Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof said. “We have the belief that we can win but credit to their bowlers. We fought hard but the better team won.”
South Africa beat Pakistan by six runs.
SOUTH AFRICA 223-9 in 50 overs (L. Wolvaardt 75, S. Luus 62; F. Sana 3-43, G. Fatima 3-52); PAKISTAN 217 in 49.5 overs (Omaima Sohail 65, Nida Dar 55, Nahida Khan 40; Shabnim Ismail 3-41).
Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2022