Galle: Sep 26, 2012
South Africa hardly broke sweat as they cruised past hosts Sri Lanka by six wickets in the ICC Women's World Twenty20 opener.
Set a target of 80 runs, South Africa achieved victory in 17.2 overs for the loss of four wickets.
In the day's other match, West Indies defeated New Zealand by seven wickets to start their campaign on a winning note.
For South Africa, wicketkeeper-batter Trisha Chetty (33) and Shandre Fritz (14) blazed away at the top, taking full advantage of the powerplay overs, even as Sri Lanka introduced spin as early as the third over to halt the South Africa side.
Sri Lanka used as many as five bowlers in the first six overs, and Inoka Ranaweera picked up two wickets, while Deepika Rasangika, the leg-spinner, took one.
Earlier, South Africa captain Mignon du Preez's decision to bowl came as no real surprise, given that there was a hint of early morning drizzle.
The South Africa bowlers vindicated that decision almost immediately as Sri Lanka slipped to 17 for four by the eighth over. Hopes were pinned on Shashikala Siriwardena, Sri Lanka's captain, easily the side's best batter. Once she was dismissed for seven, it was always going to be a tough task.
Dilani Manodara, who came in at No. 6, top-scored with 24. Along with Chamani Seneviratna, she added 31 runs in 29 balls for the seventh wicket, the highest partnership of the innings. But the partnership was broken courtesy of a run-out, one of five run outs in the innings.
Benade and van Niekerk were the most successful bowlers for South Africa, picking up two wickets apiece, and Trisha Chetty was awarded Player of the Match after her fine performance behind the stumps, assisting with four run outs and effecting one catch and one stumping.
For the West Indies, Deandra Dottin slammed a quick fifty, making short work of the target of 118.
It was their first victory over New Zealand in either T20s or ODIs.
West Indies were in trouble at five for two in two overs, with Tremayne Smartt and Shanel Daley both dismissed for ducks. It took the calm influence of Stafanie Taylor to steady the innings and bring some direction and purpose to the chase.
Taylor, who recently won the ICC Women's ODI Cricketer of the Year award, proved why she is considered one of the best in the game.
She stitched together a crucial 82-run stand for the third wicket with Dottin, before being trapped in front for 35 by Sophie Devine, who struck with her first delivery to give New Zealand an outside chance.
However, Dottin didn't lose her focus, and she soon brought up her fifth T20I fifty off just 36 balls.
She struck six fours and two sixes to finish on 58 not out, helping her side to a comfortable win. (PTI)