Ayabonga Khaka bowls South Africa to hard-fought win over Bangladesh

Ayabonga Khaka of South Africa © Getty Images

South Africa survived a scare against Bangladesh and began their campaign at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup with a win by 32 runs at the University Oval in Dunedin on Saturday (March 5). The Proteas were restricted to a gettable score by Bangladesh, who made their World Cup debut. But it was a brilliant spell by Ayabonga Khaka which helped South Africa get two hard-fought points in the end. 

Chasing 208, Bangladesh got off to a decent start. Openers Shamima Sultana and Sharmin Akhter were quite defensive in their approach but they made sure that Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail didn’t get an opportunity to strike with the new ball. But, it was against Khaka that they faced their toughest battle. In her first spell, Khaka had figures of 3-2-1-0, completely choking the runs. 

After that slow start, the Bangladesh openers were just coming into their own. They had added 67 runs in 19 overs. But it was Khaka’s second spell which gave the advantage to the Proteas. Sultana was the first to depart for 27 after she failed to defend a yorker. In her next over, Khaka produced two beautiful outswingers to dismiss Sharmin Akhter for 34 and then Murshida Khatun for a duck. Her figures at the time read – 5-2-6-3. 

The fall of wickets further dried up the runs. Fargana was next to depart with just eight runs to her name, after a direct hit from Masabata Klaas. Rumana Ahmed was joined by Nigar Sultana in the middle, with Bangladesh reeling at 86 for 4 in 27th over. Ahmed looked in good touch for a while, getting three boundaries during her brief stay. She eventually departed for 21 from 32 balls, with Khaka striking once again. This time it was an inswinger which caught an edge on the way to the keeper, Trisha Chetty, who took a brilliant catch. That wicket was also Khaka’s 100th scalp in the format.  

Salma Khatun came in and was dismissed immediately in the next over, with Klaas getting her scalp. Ritu Moni joined her skipper in the middle in the 36th over as the duo started building towards a handy partnership. Moni looked settled from the word go, while Nigar also kept chipping away with singles and doubles from time to time.

 

However, the required rate kept increasing. Moni brought the equation down to the last fifty runs with her knock of 27 from 38 balls. But, it was almost like Bangladesh were chasing way too much for their liking and kept a bit too many runs for the last few overs. Moni got out to Ismail in the 46th over after sharing a 53-run stand with Nigar.

The Bangladesh skipper departed to a run out for a 59-ball 29, with her side needing 38 runs from the last three overs. Nahida Akter was the next to go in the penultimate over when Klaas got her wicket, courtesy of another brilliant catch by Chetty. Kapp finished the innings in the last over, with a yorker dismissing Fariha Trisna. With that, Bangladesh were bowled out for 175.

Earlier in the day, Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bowl first. Laura Wolvaardt looked in great touch from the very word go. She creamed a few boundaries through the off-side in her trademark style. Her partners at the other end struggled a lot, putting some pressure on her to keep the scoreboard ticking. Opener Tazmin Brits took 18 deliveries to get off the mark and eventually ended with a score of eight from 24 balls after being dismissed by Fariha Trisna. 

Batting at no. 3, Lara Goodall consumed a lot of deliveries, which ended up bringing the Proteas innings to a little bit of a halt. She played 43 balls for her 12 runs before getting out to Salma. In the over before that, Wolvaardt also lost her wicket to Moni, who bowled a beautiful inswinger to which the opener had no answer. She played an effective knock of 41 runs from 52 balls nevertheless. 

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When Goodall’s wicket fell, South Africa’s score was 69 for 3 in 20.1 overs. Until then, Bangladesh had been quite disciplined with their lines and length, troubling the South African batters and using the conditions on offer quite well. The bowling was set up beautifully by Jahanara Alam and Trisna, who bowled 12 overs between themselves with the new ball, using every bit from the air and off the pitch, which was on offer. Medium-pacer Moni also had a good first spell, where she kept bowling a nagging length, which almost frustrated the South African batters, who were in some ways tied down and couldn’t get a release shot.

Mignon du Preez and Sune Luus got together in the middle to revive the innings. While du Preez was able to get going and rotated the strike well, Luus struggled initially to maintain the flow of runs. As the 30th over approached, du Preez lost her wicket as she chipped one back to Rumana and got out for a 26-ball 18. 

Luus was then dismissed in an unlucky fashion as she was run-out at the non-striker’s end by a shot hit back by Marizzane Kapp. She made 25 from 46 balls. At this moment, the Proteas were 119 for 5 in the 34th over. Chloe Tryon joined Kapp in the middle as South Africa fought hard to make a comeback. 

Both the players used the gaps in the field nicely and rotated strike, something which the batters who came before them failed to do on a consistent basis. Tryon took on the bowlers as well, hitting two sixes and a four. Kapp was good on the off-side, cutting late against the spinners, using the depth of her crease. 

Tryon eventually fell for 39 from 40 balls, trying to hit Jahanara over the top. By then, a 71-run stand between her and Kapp had brought South Africa back in the game. Kapp, too, fell to Jahanara for 42 from 45 balls in the second last over of the innings. Trisna came back to get two more wickets at the death, while Moni got one. Some tight dismissive bowling in the last five overs saw Bangladesh bowl South Africa out for 207 in the last over. 

Brief scores:

South Africa 207 all-out in 49.5 overs (Marizanne Kapp 42; Fariha Trisna 3/35) beat Bangladesh 175 all-out in 49.3 overs (Sharmin Akhter 34; Ayabonga Khaka 4/32) beat by 32 runs.