Recent Match Report – SA Women vs S Lanka (W) 1st T20I 2023/24

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South Africa 198 for 5 (Wolvaardt 102, Kapp 60) beat Sri Lanka 119 (Samarawickrama 38) by 79 runs

Laura Wolvaardt struck her first T20I century as South Africa racked up their second-highest total in the format to start their series against Sri Lanka in emphatic fashion. They won the opening fixture of the three-match series by 79 runs, after posting 198 for 5 and bowling Sri Lanka out for 119 in the first meeting between these two sides since the last T20 World Cup.

On that occasion, South Africa lost to Sri Lanka in the tournament opener but went on to reach the final, and since then, the teams have faced contrasting fortunes. South Africa have played ten completed T20Is and lost seven; Sri Lanka have played 12 matches and won seven. But, recent form counted for nothing when Sri Lanka sent South Africa in to bat on a flat Benoni pitch.

Tazmin Brits was dismissed in the third over and Marizanne Kapp sent in to No.3, and made the most of the opportunity for more time in the middle. Wolvaardt and Kapp shared a second-wicket stand of 116.

Kapp recorded her fourth half-century in the format in an innings laced with cut shots but it was Wolvaardt who took centre stage, with 12 fours and three sixes, including a gorgeous hit over extra cover. She reached fifty off 39 balls and a hundred off 61 to finish with a strike rate of 161.90 – well above her career strike rate of just over 111.18.

The only real disappointment from the South African innings was the run-out of Sune Luus, who was playing in her 115th T20I – the most by any South African – but had an outing to forget. Luus left the field in the second over of Sri Lanka’s innings after she dug her knee into the turf while chasing a ball to the boundary. She returned in the fifth over.

Sri Lanka used six bowlers, all expensive, and Achini Kulasuriya was the most successful. Her 2 for 39 included the wickets of Wolvaardt and Kapp, consolation for a poor fielding effort. Both Wolvaardt and Kapp were dropped in their innings – Wolvaardt in the 60s and Kapp in the 20s, and they made Sri Lanka pay.

Sri Lanka have never scored above 182 in a T20I, let alone chase that much and they suffered a massive early setback as they began their task. Kapp had Chamari Athapaththu caught behind off the final ball of the opening over, with a delivery that shaped away and took the edge. Kapp bowled only two overs as Wolvaardt shared the workload around either side of a rain break.

Sri Lanka’s innings was interrupted after seven overs, with their score on 48 for 2, but no overs were lost. On resumption, they needed 151 runs in 13 overs and only Harshita Samarawickrama and Hasini Perera, who scored 38 and 30 respectively, and put on 44 runs for the third wicket gave them any chance. Sri Lanka were bowled out inside 19 overs to give South Africa a series lead.

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