Du Preez stars as S.Africa end India's hopes with knockout punch at Women’s World Cup - GulfToday

Du Preez stars as S.Africa end India's hopes with knockout punch at Women’s World Cup


Mignon du Preez (R) and Shabnim Ismail celebrate the winning run during the Women's Cricket World Cup match at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Sunday. AFP

Veteran batter Mignon du Preez starred with an unbeaten fifty as South Africa knocked India crashed out of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup with a three wickets win in a thrilling league match at Hagley Oval on Sunday.

It was an apt ending for the league stage of the tournament, dishing out many nail-biting matches. But this was not the ending that last edition's finalists India were expecting.

After sizzling half-centuries from Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj and Shafali Verma took India to a respectable 274/7, South Africa were cruising with Laura Wolvaardt top-scoring with 80 and sharing a 125-run stand with Lara Goodall (49). But a seemingly straightforward chase turned on its head with India making inroads into the South Africa batting order.

It required the calmness of du Preez to take South Africa home on the final ball of the chase. Another big moment was when South Africa needed three runs off two balls and du Preez holed out to long-on off Deepti Sharma. But replays showed Deepti overstepping by the tiniest of margins, turning the dismissal into a front-foot no-ball.

DuPreez-shot Mignon du Preez plays a shot during the Women's Cricket World Cup match at Hagley Oval in Christchurch. AFP

Eventually, du Preez's whip through mid-wicket on the final ball of the innings broke the hearts of Indian players and fans as South Africa aced their highest successful chase in ODIs.

It also meant that the West Indies made it to the last four and will face Australia in the first semi-final while South Africa will take on defending champions England.

India elected to bat first and stepped on the field without veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami, who was ruled out of the match due to a side strain. Verma got off the mark with a decent drive through extra cover off Shabnim Ismail while Mandhana got her first boundary with a beautifully-timed drive through extra cover off Kapp. Verma tore into Ismail in the third over, smashing a hat-trick of fours through fine leg twice and backward point to take 17 runs off the over.

Boundaries continued to pour for Verma as Ayabonga Khaka was dispatched through extra cover and mid-off. Verma's aggression was the main reason behind India amassing 68 runs in power-play, their highest score in this phase of the tournament. The ten-over phase had ten boundaries, seven of which were hit by Verma while Mandhana slammed three.

IndiaSouthAfrica-Women Harmanpreet Kaur (R) makes a successful run as wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty attempts for a run out. AFP

Post-power-play, Verma and Mandhana kept the scoreboard ticking till the former reached her maiden World Cup fifty in just 40 balls with a four thumped over mid-on off Masabata Klass. But in the next over, South Africa broke the 91-run opening partnership as a huge miscommunication on the field resulted in Verma sacrificing her wicket. With Yastika Bhatia clean bowled by Chole Tryon for just two, South Africa looked on a comeback in the match.

In pursuit of 275, Lizelle Lee was run out early via a direct hit from Harmanpreet. But Wolvaardt led the recovery for South Africa by taking the attack to India. With her eye-catchy, well-timed cover drives, Wolvaardt was in control of her game and supporting her enormously was Goodall, who struck boundaries off Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Pooja Vastrakar.

Wolvaardt got her fifty with a cut through backward point. South Africa were helped by India not being able to maintain a consistent line and length apart from the misfields. The duo kept the scoreboard ticking with strike rotation, keeping the required run-rate under check. India's quest for a breakthrough finally came when Gayakwad enticed Goodall with a flighted delivery turning past her inner edge and was stumped for 49, ending the 125-run partnership.

One brought two for India as Harmanpreet clean bowled Wolvaardt with a turning in delivery that hit the off-stump. From there, India tightened the screws on South Africa by drying the boundaries. Du Preez and captain Sune Luus stitched a stand of 37 runs for the fourth wicket. But Harmanpreet struck again, trapping Luus lbw with a full ball turning in and going past the flick to hit her on the knee roll. India took the DRS and replays showed the ball hitting the top of the leg-stump.


Indo-Asian News Service

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