Shabnim Ismail’s three fours in the 49th over helped South Africa Women win by three wickets with six balls to spare against Pakistan Women in its opening game of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 at Grace Road in Leicester on Sunday.
South Africa’s highest-ever successful chase – of 207 – was the perfect gift for Mignon du Preez, who has been a perfect team player throughout her career, on the occasion of her 100th One-Day International.
Before the start of the game, the South African team got into a huddle to congratulate du Preez, who became the first from her country to the milestone. It was a significant moment for a team that only started playing ODIs in 1997.
Dane van Niekerk, the current captain, considers du Preez her elder sister for being a mentor both on and off the field, and it shows in the way everyone in the team speaks about the former skipper. She is South Africa’s leading run-getter in ODIs, and her calmness was crucial in it not losing control in the middle overs after the openers put on a stand of 114.
Du Preez’s 30 off 40 balls, which included two fours, kept the game in balance and never allowed the required run-rate to go out of control. After she fell in the 45th over, Sune Luus and Ismail got the job done.