Trisha Chetty. ©Getty Images

Trisha Chetty and Tumi Sekhukhune stole the show as South Africa Emerging downed Bangladesh Emerging by five runs in the opening game of the three-match T20 series at Hammanskraal Mandela Oval in Pretoria on Wednesday (July 31).

Nigar Sultana’s decision to bowl first didn’t bear fruit as the hosts raced away to a triple-figure opening stand. Chetty and Tazmin Brits quickly got off the blocks, with the former notching up her third fifty-plus score in the series – two in the preceding one dayers. Brits, too, brought up a steady half century as the duo put on 127 for the opening wicket before the latter was dismissed on the last ball of the penultimate over for 52. Chetty soon followed suit for a more rapid 59-ball 72.

Ritu Moni, the right-arm seamer, was the pick of the bowlers for Bangladesh Emerging as she had two wickets to show. South Africa couldn’t add much to the score as they finished on 130 for 4 in their 20 overs. The leading wicket-taker of the one day series, Khadija Tul Kubra, the Bangladesh off-spinner, finished with economical figures of 1-21 – South African captain Nadine de Klerk was her scalp.

Bangladesh had won the one-day series on the weight of their batting performances. Thus, chasing 131 shouldn’t have been a huge task, but they lost opener Murshida Khatun as early as the fourth over. Sultana and Sanjida Islam then steadied the ship before Sekhukhune struck. What then followed was a procession of the batters to the dugout.

Fahima Khatun’s 34 kept Bangladesh in the hunt. With 32 needed off the final four overs and five wickets in the hut, Bangladesh were in a good position to open the T20 series with a win. 16 runs came off the next two overs.

Sekhukhune then struck a telling blow by sending back Fahima and Moni in the 19th over. She conceded just seven in the over, leaving Bangladesh Emerging requiring nine runs in six balls. The responsibility was entrusted with Ayabonga Khaka. Only three runs were conceded in that over, with as many run-outs in the process.

Bangladesh Emerging had been restricted to 125 for 9, with Sekhukhune finishing with figures of 3 for 21.

These teams next lock horns in the second T20 on Thursday (August 1).