South Africa held their nerve and edged Sri Lanka by one run but lost the war in their bid to sneak into the semi-finals of the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.
The hosts went into the clash needing a big win to boost their net run-rate to the point where they could overtake second-placed Australia in their final Group 1 match.
Player of the match Kayla Reyneke (43 with the bat and 2/16 with the ball), three stumpings by wicketkeeper Karabo Meso and a nerveless final over by Miane Smit – who was defending 12 – led them to the slender victory, but the modest total and the narrowness of the margin of victory meant this would be the end of their road in this competition.
The hosts took matters into their hands by electing to bat after winning the toss, but finishing on 134/7 in their 20 overs suggested they had done little to move the net run rate needle.
There were starts but none of the partnerships – which ranged from 22 to 28 – were big enough to give them the kind of launch platform for an imposing total. Going into the second half of the innings at 72/3 was encouraging, but they didn’t have the finisher to turn that into a sizeable target.
Top scorer, Reyneke’s 43, was a case in point of the South African innings: it took 49 balls and only featured two boundaries. Jenna Evans’ 22 (15 balls, three fours) and Madison Landsman’s 21 (12 balls, four fours) were more aggressive, but they weren’t there for long enough for that to make a telling impact.
Credit is also due to the Sri Lankan bowling attack – thanks in no small part to Vidushika Perera and Vihanga Wijerathne’s respective figures of 3/25 and 2/22 – whose tight bowling kept tabs on the South African progress.
Sri Lanka being restricted to just 12 runs after the first five overs, with off-spinner Smit going for just three runs in her first three overs, gave the hosts hope that scoreboard pressure would eventually do its thing.
Mature partnerships between Nethmi Senarathna and skipper Vishmi Gunarathne (37 off 39 balls), and Senarathna and Vihanga Wijerathne (42 off 32) seemed to give Sri Lanka the foothold they were looking for in the chase, but once Senarathna (36) and the explosive Wijerathne (37 from 23 balls, three fours and three sixes) went in quick succession, not even Manudi Nanayakkara’s nine-ball 17 could mask the fact that they had left themselves too much to do.
Scores in brief:
Toss: South Africa who elected to bat.
South Africa 134 for 7 in 20 overs (Kayla Reyneke 43, Jenna Evans 22, Vidushika Perera three for 25, Vihanga Wijerathne two for 22)
Sri Lanka 133 for 8 in 20 overs (Vihanga Wijerathne 37, Nethmi Senarathna 36, Kayla Reyneke two for 16, Miane Smit one for 13)
South Africa won by 1 run after 20 overs.