Hosts South Africa remained unbeaten on the final day of the One Day International (ODI) section of the ICC Women's Cricket Challenge in Potchefstroom, South Africa, as it beat the Netherlands by ten wickets with 194 balls remaining today (Tuesday).
This victory sees the South African side rise up from seventh place to fifth position in the Reliance Mobile ICC Women's ODI team rankings, a table that is currently headed by the ICC Women's World Cup 2009 winners, England.
South Africa could not have hoped for better weather when they won the toss and chose to field first on the final day of the ODI leg of the event, the 26-degree heat was cooled down by a fresh breeze allowing for perfect cricket playing and watching conditions.
The South African bowling attack couldn't have hoped for a better start as they took apart the Netherlands batting line-up. Sunette Loubser was once again the pick of the bowlers, this time with 3-27, while Dane van Niekerk (2-21) and Marcia Letsoalo (2-26) provided the perfect balance of spin and seam bowling to skittle the Dutch side for 109-9 at the end of its allotted 50 overs.
South Africa's reply was a quick and calculated show of batting skill with Shandre Fritz, who has seemingly found her form, returning unbeaten on 61 from 51 balls and Trisha Chetty (46 not out) complimenting her well with a steady batting performance. The batting duo led the side to a comfortable ten-wicket victory over the Dutch who remain rooted to the bottom of the rankings table at the conclusion of the ODI event.
South Africa captain, Cri-Zelda Brits, was delighted by her side's performance throughout the entire ODI section of the tournament, “I'm very proud of the team, we've worked really hard to get here, it's great to see our results reflecting the amount of work we've done to up our game.
“What really matters to me is the consistency we have shown throughout, and I hope we can take it to the T20s and play with the same focus we've displayed in the ODIs and do well.”
In the other two fixtures of the day, Sri Lanka won its second match in the tournament, when it beat Ireland by two wickets and thus the side has moved up one place in the rankings from eighth to seventh while Ireland remained in ninth place in the world rankings.
Having defeated Netherlands in its second match of the tournament and also defeated Pakistan the team was looking for a strong finish in Potchefstroom. Dilani Manodara's side did not having an easy task when facing a strong Irish batting line-up, with the side posting a competitive score of 211-8 in its 50 overs after it had won the toss.
Clare Shillington was the star batter as she made a score of 78 before she was caught out by Polgampola Kumarihambi off Hiruka Fernando. Melissa Scott-Hayward (38) and Isobel Joyce (31) both kept the runs flowing amidst falling wickets and put their team in a position to win if the bowlers did right by them.
Sri Lanka replied with the early loss of Kumarihambi, who was bowled by Louise McCarthy in the fourth over, followed by a well batted half-century by Sajeewani Galagedera.
It was the 74-run innings by Sandamali Dolawatta, including six boundaries, that tipped the scales in the Sri Lankans' favour, allowing it to get too close to the target and the ultimate victory.
West Indies bounced back from its six-wicket loss to South Africa by beating Pakistan by 93 runs but the side's one loss in the tournament has seen it slip from fifth to sixth place in the rankings while Pakistan has dropped from sixth to eighth.
Pakistan won the toss in the morning sunshine and sent the ladies from the Caribbean in to bat. The side lost opening batter Juliana Nero for a duck in the second over, but this did not keep the team down as Stafanie Taylor blazed to 83 from 112 balls before she was caught by Sana Mir off Nida Dar in the 39th over.
Captain Merissa Aguilleira's half-century steered her side to a winning position before she was stumped by Pakistani wicket keeper Batool Fatima off the bowling of Dar.
The 41-run partnership of Deandra Dottin and Stacy Ann King bought an end to Pakistan's hopes for a win in the tournament, allowing the Caribbeans to make short work of the scoring, ending the game with 5.3 overs to spare.
West Indies coach, Sherwin Campbell was happy with the win as it gave the team some confidence going into the Twenty20 section of the event, “We wanted to finish this section of the tournament on a winning note and that's what we did.
“We did well recently in the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in the West Indies, so we are confident going into the T20 phase of this tournament. We are switching to T20 mode and starting early tomorrow with a nets session and we look forward to what we hope will be a successful T20 campaign.”
With the conclusion of the ODI section of the tournament the sides will now compete in a series of Twenty20 International fixtures on 14 and 16 October.