A big match for South Africa; Shikha Pandey rides high on confidence after career-best figures
Matches on Friday, February 17
Sri Lanka v South Africa, P Sara Oval
India v Bangladesh, Nondescripts Cricket Club
Ireland v Pakistan, Colombo Cricket Club
Match in focus: Sri Lanka v South Africa
This could well be the match that decides which team joins India in the final on February 22.
South Africa came into the Super Six stage unbeaten, but it was stopped short by India on Wednesday. The South African pace attack was as accurate as ever, but was met with a smart strategy from the Indians. Mithali Raj and her team simply sat tight and played out the first Power Play without any risk, allowing themselves the opportunity to attack later on. The bowlers will have to regroup and come back fighting.
South Africa’s troubles against spin were exposed against India. Spin is Sri Lanka’s strength too, and Dane van Niekerk’s side could face another stern test.
Sri Lanka’s batting has been a revelation this tournament. Chamari Athapaththu and Nipuni Hansika have been giving them strong starts, with the likes of Chamari Polgampola and Eshani Lokusuriyage showing their ability to construct and innings. The batters have been able to maintain a healthy run rate. And with a cheerful group of supporters keeping the players’ spirits up, it won’t be an easy game for South Africa.
Player to watch: Shikha Pandey
Shikha Pandey, India’s medium pacer, has been leading the attack in the absence of the experienced Jhulan Goswami. She has added more pace to her arsenal, varies her lengths based on the situation, and has shown the ability to bowl good yorkers. In the win against South Africa, she returned career-best figures of 4 for 34.
That Pandey has played in 17 of 22 ODIs for India Women since her debut in August 2014 has been because of her all-round skills. “Whatever batting time I get, I tell myself that I have to prove a point. I also can probably bat higher, but I am a team person – whether it is to whack the ball or bowl in the Power Play. You have really work hard to bat higher for the kind of competition within the team. So, the work is in progress,” she says.
Where the teams stand
This will be the second day of matches as part of the Super Six stage. All teams in the Super Six have confirmed ODI status for themselves; the next goal will be to finish in the top four to seal a World Cup berth, while the top two will go to the final.
India, with a 49-run win over South Africa on Wednesday, is unbeaten in the competition and already through to the final. South Africa and Sri Lanka are both on four points, and the winner of their match-up is likely to be well placed to make it to the final. Pakistan and Bangladesh are on two points each, while Ireland, with no points, will need a lot of results to go its way if it wants to make it to the World Cup.
Quote of the day
Laura Delany, Ireland captain: “Obviously we’re very disappointed. We’d hoped to start our first game off with a win. Unfortunately we didn’t get enough runs. A couple of us were set and we definitely should have capitalised on that. I don’t think we gave bowlers enough to bowl at. We know that we have to play our best cricket over the next few days. We’re going to be positive. We’ve worked really hard. I’m still very confident that if we execute our skills the way that we have previously and the way that we can, we’ll get the job done.”
Number of note
Dane van Niekerk, South Africa’s captain, became the seventh woman and the first from South Africa to get to 100 wickets and cross 1000 runs.