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Cricket | Women

Mignon du Preez © Gallo Images

Stubborn Sri Lanka land two-wicket win



The Momentum Proteas Women suffered their second ICC Women's World Cup 2013 warm-up match defeat when they faced Sri Lanka at the MIG Cricket Club in Mumbai on Tuesday. They succumbed to a two-wicket defeat against a determined Sri Lankan squad.

South Africa were put in to bat first after Sri Lanka won the toss and were skittled out for 164 in 45.2 overs. Captain Mignon du Preez (59) was once again the stand-out performer with the bat as her teammates failed to add runs to the scoreboard. Dané van Niekerk added 46 vital runs and shared a 72-run partnership for the seventh wicket with her captain to get their side to a respectable score.

It was not enough by all accounts. Coach Hilton Moreeng agreed that they were more than 40 runs short at the end of the innings.

"The Sri Lankans made use of the conditions very well and our batters could not adapt. The pitch was damp and sticky in the morning and this is something we are not used to. We were five wickets down within the first 10 overs and, although Mignon and Dané did well to rebuild the innings, we lost wickets again at regular intervals and never got to a score we could defend successfully," he commented.

Although it has not been a dream start, Moreeng is confident that these are the lessons that need learning now, while not so much is at stake. "It's not all negatives. We did well when we took the ball and put them under pressure. They were six wickets down for 66 in the 23rd over but, again, we were not clinical enough on the field and did not take our chances and finish the day," Moreeng continued.

Sripaly Weerakkody (54*) did well to hold her nerve under the onslaught of a frustrated South African side. She shared a 40-run, seventh-wicket partnership with Eshani Kaushalya and another vital 41-run partnership with Chamani Seneviratna for the eighth wicket to help her side to the finishing line.

Moreeng is still upbeat about his team's chances in the tournament despite their wobbly start, "All is not yet lost," he said. "This was only our second game in completely alien conditions. There were some really good performances and we were rotating the squad to see who did well and where and how we could use each player to the best of their abilities. We are going to make use of our final practice on Thursday to make sure that we have ironed out all the creases before we set foot on the field on Friday.

"I believe we have a very good chance of making it to the Super Sixes stage. We just need to stick to the basics and the rest will take care of itself," Moreeng concluded.

South Africa will travel to Cuttack on Wednesday for the Group B stage of the tournament where they will begin their preparation for their first match of the tournament against New Zealand on Friday, 1 February.

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