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ICC Women's World Cup: South Africa beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets

Leg-spinner Dane van Niekerk produced yet another terrific performance with the ball as South Africa eased to their fourth win of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 with an eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.

Having taken four wickets against both the West Indies and India, captain van Niekerk finished with a third four-wicket haul of the tournament, taking her first two wickets within four balls.

Shabnim Ismail chipped in with three wickets as South Africa squeezed the pressure on the opposition whilst 25 apiece for Chamari Polgampala and Dilani Manodara was the best Sri Lanka’s batters could muster.

Despite two early South Africa dismissals, Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon du Preez steadied the ship to take their side across the line in just 23 overs and to a tally of nine on the points table.

After the match Du Preez said: “It was an all-round great team performance. I think the bowlers set us up really nicely, and myself and Wolfy just finished it off. It’s really good for us, we wanted to have a convincing win today and make sure our run-rate is up there with the best. We’re still waiting for a few other results to see where we’re at, but we’re definitely hoping to make it into the semi-finals.

“Dane has been absolutely brilliant. She sometimes says that the ball isn’t coming out how she’d like it to and she still wasn’t happy when she came off today. She has definitely been leading from the front which is awesome to see.”

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat, but were dealt a huge blow in the second over when Chamari Athapaththu was trapped leg-before wicket for one by Marizanne Kapp with a fast opening ball. The poor start continued into the fifth over when Ismail dismissed Hasini Perera, the batter edging it to point only for Lizelle Lee to take the falling catch.

Polgampala and Prasadani Weerakkodi looked to be making amends with the foundations of a steady partnership at the crease, but van Niekerk led by example to dismiss the pair in the 20th over. Shashikala Siriwardena was the next to fall, attempting a big swing to mid-wicket only to provide the simplest of catches for Ayabonga Khaka.

Van Niekerk and Masabata Klaas dispatched two more in quick succession, before the Proteas skipper took her fourth wicket of the day, removing Sripali Weerakkody for a duck. Ismail grabbed her second wicket shortly after, Eshani Lokusooriya looping a shot directly to Kapp, and despite Ama Kanchana bringing up Sri Lanka’s hundred, Ismail took her out for her third wicket as South Africa completed their rout of the batting order.

South Africa didn’t get their innings off to the best start when Lizelle Lee was caught behind for a duck, before Sri Lanka captain Inoka Ranaweera clean bowled Trisha Chetty. Wolvaardt and Du Preez were brought together in the middle and controlled the pace of the game, bringing up their fifty partnership.

After the match Shashikala Siriwardena said: “We are happy that we won the toss because it was cloudy, but the ball could come nicely into the bat. The bowlers had no runs to help defend and all batters must take responsibility that we have had this score. We always needed a good start but we couldn’t have that, so we need good partnerships in the top order.”

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