Laura Wolvaardt, Anneke Bosch grab headlines as Thistles & Coronation register wins in their opening games

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A comprehensive bowling performance from the pacers and a brilliant half-century from Anneke Bosch helped the Thistles trump Starlights by 11 runs in the inaugural match of the third season of Women’s Super League(WSL) on Monday (December 14). In the second match, the Coronation bowlers held ground to savour a six-run victory against the Duchesses after a fighting half-century from Laura Wolvaardt put them in a strong position. 

Thistles v Starlights

It was like Shabnim Ismail started from where she left off at the Women’s Big Bash League final. All she needed was just three balls to make her presence felt as she removed Lizelle Lee in the first over. Khayakazi Mathe joined the party as she dismissed Andrie Steyn and Nondumiso Shangase in the very next over. 

The Thistles seamers were all over the Starlights top-order as they lost two more wickets in the powerplay. Moseline Daniels yorked Annemarie Dercksen, and Nobulumko Baneti deceived Lara Goodall with a slower ball and the Starlights were struggling at 20 for five after six overs.

With wickets falling at the other end, Khushi Mistry joined hands with Tatum Le Roux and tried to take the game deep into the innings. From 44 for eight, they took the team to 81 for eight in the next six overs.

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With 20 runs required in the last over, Thistles skipper Tumi Sekhukune held her nerve to ensure an 11-run victory. Mistry top-scored with 34 from 44 balls and Roux scored a run-a-ball 20. Mathe was the pick of the bowlers getting three crucial wickets for just 16 runs.

Earlier, after opting to bat, Thistles lost their openers Trisha Chetty and Nonkululeko Thabethe cheaply. With the leg-spinner Evodia Yekile removing Alezandra Candler, Bosch and Eliz-Mari Marx forged a partnership together. 

Bosch, in particular, launched a counter-attack after settling in. She reached her half-century in 42 balls. With Marx, she added 41 runs in 31 balls before getting out caught at the long-on boundary to Masabata Klaas. 

An unbeaten 27-ball 21 from Marx helped Thistles get to 100 for six by the end of the innings. While Klaas picked three wickets for 16 runs, Yekile was the one who kept it tight with two maidens and took as many wickets, in her four overs. 

Duchesses vs Coronation

Chasing close to seven runs an over, the Duchesses lost their opener Gandhi Jafta early to Ayabonga Khaka. Walking in at number three, skipper Sune Luus along with Faye Tunnicliffe rebuilt their innings and kept them in the chase. 

They put together a 46-run partnership before Tunnicliffe got out to a brilliant catch by Verunissa Reddy behind the stumps. She scored 28 runs from 33 balls. Accompanied by Michaela Kirk, Luus hit boundaries off Madison Landsman and Jane Winster on her way to a half-century. 

Khaka provided the much-needed breakthrough for the Coronations by getting rid of Luus for 53 runs. Defending 12 runs in the final over, Winster gave away just five runs dismissing Kirk and Micaela Andrews. The Duchesses managed to get only 126 for six in the 20 overs. 

Earlier, following the template of Thistles, Coronations too elected to bat after winning the toss. Coming from a moderate season with the Adelaide Strikers in the WBBL, Wolvaardt ensured that her team got off to a good start. Skipper Tazmin Brits added 29 runs with Wolvaardt before getting out to Micaela Andrews for 15 from 21 balls.

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Joined by Kirstie Thomson, Wolvaardt played the patience game while keeping the scoreboard moving. When presented with an opportunity, they did not miss to pick up boundaries. The duo added 65 runs in 57 balls before Thomson got out trying to slog-sweep Sune Luus over the midwicket boundary. She was the aggressor in the partnership scoring a 32-ball 38.

Wolvaardt, at the other end, brought up her half-century in 49 balls. Trying to increase the run-rate in the final overs, Wolvaardt got out to Zintle Mali for 59 from 56 balls. Some late flourish from Reddy took the Coronations to 132 for four. Luus starred with the ball for Duchesses picking up two important wickets for 24 runs. 

Brief Scores: 

Thistles: 100/6 in 20 overs (Anneke Bosch 51, Masabata Klaas 3/16) beat Starlights: 89/9 in 20 overs (Khushi Mistry 34, Khayakazi Mathe 3/16) by 11 runs.

Coronations: 132/6 (Laura Wolvaardt 59, Sune Luus 2/24) beat Duchesses 126/6 (Sune Luus 53, Ayabonga Khaka 2/20) by six runs.