Du Preez powers Proteas to consolation win

The series ended with India winning 2-1, but the hosts will be pleased to have opened their ICC Women's Championship account with two points.

A four-wicket haul by Shabnim Ismail and respective, unbeaten scores of 90 and 41 by Mignon du Preez and captain Dane van Niekerk, as well as a half-century by Laura Wolvaardt (59 off 88 balls) saw the home side finally play to the potential they have been discussing.

The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first, posting a competitive 240 in their allotted overs.

For India key performers Smirti Mandhana (0) and Mithali Raj (4) misfired and while Deepti Sharma was able to craft 79 and Veda Krishnamurthy 56, India struggled to build partnerships. Chloe Tryon chipped in with a notable 2/48.

In reply, the risky Lizelle Lee was seen off for 10 by Pandey, with Ekta Bisht taking the catch at backward point, but India's attack struggled to take wickets from then on, as Laura Wolvaardt (59) shared a useful second-wicket partnership of 41 with Andrie Steyn (30) and then combined impressively with du Preez to add a further 118 runs.

Needing 63 off the last nine overs, and the fourth-wicket stand between du Preez and Niekerk worth only nine runs, Shikha Pandey dropped a Niekerk force at mid-off off the first ball of the 42nd over.

Bisht's dismissal of Wolvaardt offered India a glimmer of hope but du Preez remained unfazed and found a willing partner in captain Dane van Niekerk (41 not out from 30 deliveries), with the latter playing expansively to ensure the required run rate was kept in check.

The teams will have another quick turnaround before the start of the five-match T20 series starting on Tuesday, 13 February at the same venue in Potchefstroom.

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