South Africa land superb victory

A quartet of wickets and a half-century by South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk inspired her side to its third victory of the ICC Women’s World Cup with a 115-run win over India.

A sublime performance with the bat saw Lizelle Lee hit 92 runs - 82 of which were boundaries - before van Niekerk added 57 of her own.

India, looking to continue its unbeaten run in the tournament, quickly saw any real chance of a chase diminish as Smriti Mandhana was dispatched in the second over, before South Africa went on to take five more wickets within 27 balls.

Deepti Sharma’s half-century was the only saving grace of her side’s innings, as South Africa recorded its first ever World Cup victory over India to go up to seven points from five matches, one point less than India’s tally of eight.

“I just felt like taking it deep. I know their game well enough to know I can take it away,” said van Niekerk.

“I just stuck to my plans and today it came off. We said we wanted it, and we did that. It wasn’t as clinical as I hoped. Everyone chipped in and it was a brilliant team performance.”

India chose to field upon winning the toss, and got proceedings off to the perfect start when Shikha Pandey struck with only her second delivery of the match, Laura Wolvaardt departing for one in the second over.

Lee quickly tore the Indian outfield apart with four sixes and five fours within the opening 10 overs of the innings.

She stormed to a quickfire half-century off 44 balls - her 12th in ODIs - and hit the 50th six of her career (seven sixes in the innings) after watching partner Trisha Chetty caught for 24.

Lee’s time on the pitch ended shortly after, bowled leg before wicket by Harmanpreet Kaur for 92 runs. It was a dismissal that went some way to slow South Africa’s scoring down, as India took three more wickets before dispatching Chloe Tryon with two overs remaining.

There was time still though for van Niekerk to hit her half-century with a reverse sweep before being caught for 57.
It wasn’t long before India suffered its first casualty as it came into bat - Mandhana removed for four with a fine catch from Shabnim Ismail at deep square-leg.

Its luck didn’t improve as it lost three wickets in five balls, Ayabonga Khaka taking Poonam Raut’s middle stump before van Niekerk (10-0-22-4) dismissed Mithali Raj - her first golden duck in ODIs - and Kaur.

Three more followed within 24 balls as India’s collapse continued, and despite Sharma’s 50, South Africa wrapped up the win with five overs remaining.

“When we decided to field it was because of the history of the ground,” said India captain Raj. “We’ve had people saying that most of the matches that are won here are chasing.

“We did realise that Lee’s wicket was very important. I give full credit to her batting, she played one of the best innings I have seen in the World Cup against us.”

Credit: ICC 

Photo credit: ICC/Getty Images