Nadine de Klerk celebrates a wicket. ©ICC
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A half-century from Nadine de Klerk and a disciplined effort by the South Africa Emerging Players’ bowlers helped the hosts beat Bangladesh Emerging Players by 47 runs in the first one-day match at Pretoria on Tuesday (July 23). A valiant 61 from Shaila Sharmin and her half-century partnerships with Ritu Moni and Fahima Khatun significantly reduced Bangladesh’s margin of defeat after the visitors had been reduced to 82 for 7

Chasing 199, Bangladesh’s innings was derailed early thanks to incisive spells from the opening bowlers, Tumi Sekhukhune and N Mlaba. The pair bagged four wickets between them in their opening burst to rip through the visitors’ top order— Murishda Khathun, Sharmin Akhter, Niger Sultana and Sanjida Islam only managed a combined score of five runs. With Bangladesh reeling at 8 for 4, the end looked near.

However, the lower middle order put up a brave fight thanks first to Sharmin’s 64-run stand with Moni for the fifth wicket that took Bangladesh to 72 for 5. Moni scored a 68-ball 33, and batted with Sharmin for 21.3 overs before she was dismissed by Nondumiso Shangase. Her dismissal triggered another mini-collapse as the visitors’ lost three wickets for 10 runs. Khatun’ s entry stemmed the flow for Bangladesh, and the right-hander batted assuredly for her unbeaten 32. She shared an important 52-run stand with Sharmin who in the process, brought up her fifty. The latter was eventually dismissed for 61 to become Sekhukhune’s third wicket of the day.

Bangladesh were dismissed for 151 in 49 overs. Sekhukhune was South Africa’s most successful bowler with figures of 3 for 30. N Mlaba and de Klerk picked up two wickets each.

Earlier in the day de Klerk, South Africa captain, won the toss and opted to bat first, but the hosts struggled up front— Tamzin Brits and Robyn Searle both dismissed early by Moni. The right-arm pacer bowled with good control, attacking the stumps and bringing the batters forward. With Nigar Sultana standing up to the stumps, the South Africans found Moni tough to negotiate.

Just when the hosts were desperate for a partnership to pull the innings together, Trisha Chetty, the experienced wicket-keeper, held down one end while Shangase found her feet at the other. Their partnership worth 45 bought a sense of calm to the hosts’ dressing room.

With South Africa looking comfortable, Khatun struck to dismiss Shangase for a patient 17. As the old saying goes, one wicket brings two, and Chetty (34) was soon caught at cover having sliced a delivery from Moni trying to go over mid-off. The run-out of Sinalo Jafta soon after meant South Africa had suddenly fallen to 82 for 5.

Lara Goodall walked in and started positively against the spinners. She swept and used the depth of her crease very well, picking her gaps and hitting the ball hard. She was the perfect foil to de Klerk who almost immediately took the attack to the opposition. She went at more than a run-a-ball, clobbering anything even remotely short, preferring to hit through the leg-side more often than not. The pair shared the best partnership of the match— 79 runs for the sixth wicket. Goodall’s dismissal for 38— a knock that included seven boundaries— triggered a collapse for the hosts.

From 161 for 5 in the 40th over, South Africa crashed to 199 all out in the space of nine overs. De Klerk led from the front with a 48-ball 54 that included eight fours and one six.

While Bangladesh’s spinners were incredibly impressive with combined figures of 31-3-126-5, Moni, the right-arm seamer, was the standout, picking up 4 for 33 in 10 overs.

Her allround performance, however, was not enough for the visitors as South Africa came out all guns blazing with the ball and decimated the top order.

Brief scores: South Africa Emerging Player 198 in 48 overs (Nadine de Klerk 54, Lara Goodall 38; Ritu Moni 4-33, Nahida Akter 3-43) beat Bangladesh 151 in 49 overs (Shaila Sharmin 61, Ritu Moni 33; Tumi Sekhukhune 3-30, N Mlaba 2-16) by 47 runs.