MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand: South Africa defeated Pakistan by 6 runs in a thrilling match in the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup fixture at the Bay Oval on Friday.
Opener Laura Wolvaardt made 75 as South Africa made 223-9 off 50 overs before dismissing Pakistan for 217 with one ball remaining in a tense finish at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
The win moved them into a share of top spot with Australia, the West Indies and New Zealand, with the hosts having played a game more than the other trio.
However, South Africa’s campaign is about to get much tougher, after seeing off Pakistan and Bangladesh previously.
They will next meet England – desperate for a victory after the defending champs lost their first two games – with New Zealand and Australia to follow.
Pakistan got a third-wicket partnership worth 69 between opener Nahida Khan (40) and Omaima Sohail (65) but it came at a pace that left a required run-rate of more than five an over, and they were just unable to hit their way to victory in the dying overs.
Skipper Nida Dar made 55 off 72 balls to get her team close, but a brilliant caught and bowled from quick bowler Shabnim Ismail in the final over proved decisive.
As they did against India in their tournament-opener, Pakistan had the batting side in deep trouble past the midway stage of the innings.
When legspinner Ghulam Fatima had taken three wickets within three overs, the favoured side had slumped to 120-5 after 32 overs.
But captain Sune Luus battled her way through to 62 off 102 balls, and Chloe Tryon (31 off 38) and Trisha Chetty (31 off 26) struck out late.
Pakistan’s bowling for the most part was testing, but they paid dearly for missed chances in the field amid some sharp catching.
Wolvaardt survived a tough chance when on four as South Africa struggled to score early – there were 46 dot balls in the power play as they lumbered to 29-2 off 10 overs.
Luus was on the right side of the ledger three times when the Decision Review System was used to adjudicate on lbws. She was given out on 12 and on 23 and successfully reviewed both after getting bat on ball, then stayed at the wicket on 40 after being given not out as Pakistan asked for a closer look.
Tryon was dropped on two and again on 19 – to a tough chance spilled by wicketkeeper Sidra Nawaz, who had earlier hauled in two fine diving efforts.
The hard-hitting right-hander eventually fell two balls after slamming a six and Cheetty was dropped on 20 before Luus finally couldn’t escape an lbw decision when given out, despite another DRS viewing.