Van Niekerk, Bezuidenhout bat SA to series win
A 218-run partnership featuring centuries from Dané van Niekerk (124 not out) and Bernadien Bezuidenhout (109 not out) saw the South Africa women's emerging squad beat Zimbabwe by an almighty 227 runs at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday. They win the ODI series 2-0.
The visitors scored an overwhelming 301 runs after winning the toss and choosing to bat first. Robyn Appels lost her wicket for 10 in the third over thanks to clever bowling by Sharise Saili.
South Africa captain Mignon du Preez shared a 42-run partnership with Bezuidenhout before she was caught out by her Zimbabwean counterpart, Ashley Burdett for 28 in the 11th. The hosts had more cause for celebration when they removed Alexis le Breton for a mere eight runs in the 15th over before Van Niekerk entered the fray.
Calm batting from the beginning gave Van Niekerk a good start before moving on to score at a rapid pace in the last 10 overs. She scored her 124 in just 103 balls, much to her delight.
"I was really happy to start out slowly because I came to the crease much earlier than I would have liked. I'm much better at scoring quickly in the latter overs of the innings so when we reached 40 overs, I really let it rip and had a lot of fun doing so," van Niekerk said.
Bezuidenhout, who is playing in her first international tour, had fun playing alongside van Niekerk. "She (van Niekerk) makes it look really easy but it's not," she said. "There were times when I was losing concentration but she calmed me down and help me move on from the sticky patches. It's been a real learning experience playing outside my country for the first time ever and I'm loving my cricket at the moment."
The hosts once again barely put up a fight in their reply. Moseline Daniels stunned the top three batters, removing Burdett, Ashely Ndiraya and E Njinjika for two, three and none respectively. She returned outstanding figures of 4-13 in seven overs with a maiden over to round off an exceptional day with the ball.
Other impressive contributions were made by youngsters; Ayabonga Khaka, Maryka Kirchoff and Suné Luus who took a scalp each to keep the wickets tumbling.
"It was a really impressive show from the team today," coach Hilton Moreeng said. "Today's aim was to be clinical and ruthless and a win by 227 runs speaks for itself. I'm very happy with the manner in which the game plans were executed. Now, we look to do the same with the T20s."
The two countries will meet for a two-match T20 series taking place on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 June.