25 February 2008
The South African women's cricket team enjoyed an unbeaten run through the ICC Women's World Cup qualifying tournament,
which ended in Stellenbosch on Sunday, to book their a place at the 2009 World Cup in Australia.
Prior to the weekend tournament-decider against Pakistan, Graeme Smith, captain of the Proteas, who are on tour in Bangladesh,
sent a message of congratulations on the women's qualification for the World Cup, saying: "On behalf of our entire squad I
send best wishes and congratulations to our lady counterparts.
"We have been following their progress with keen interest and we are thrilled that they have won all their matches by such
convincing margins. "Well done and good luck for the final as well as next year's tournament. We are proud of you."
As it turned out, captain Cri-Zelda Brits and her side didn't need any luck
in the final as they swept Pakistan aside in a one-sided contest to put an exclamation mark on a very successful tournament
for the hosts.
Batting first, Pakistan managed only 61 all out in 24.3 overs as Alicia Smith proved too much for the Asians to handle.
She became the first South African woman to take a five-for in a one-day international, capturing 5 for 7 in eight overs,
as only one Pakistani made it into double figures.
"I was really pleased," said Smith after the match. "I had been feeling a bit down before today, as I had felt I had underperformed
in this tournament, so I just wanted to focus on the basics and I was pleased it all worked out.
"Getting a place on the plane to Australia for me is the most important thing at the moment. I dropped out of the team
last year, as I fell ill and had to withdraw from the squad, which was very disappointing, so it's great to be back in the
Susan Benade provided excellent support with a haul of 2 for 11 in five overs, while Sunette Loubser shone with 2 for 14
in 7.3 overs.
"I think all of my bowlers did extremely well," said captain Brits. "Alicia was excellent and showed the kind of character
that I want from my team."
Brits also paid tribute to the support the South African side received from a passionate home crowd at Stellenbosch University.
"I haven't played in front of a crowd like that in South Africa for ages," she said. "I think it's really important to
get people to come and watch our games as hopefully that will encourage people to start playing as well."
South Africa qualified for the final with a convincing win over Ireland
in the semi-finals. The Irish won the toss and elected to bat, but found it difficult to contend with the home team's bowling.
Opener Cecilia Joyce carried her bat throughout the innings to finish undefeated on 43. Apart from her, however, only Clare
Shillington, with 13, reached double-figures as Ireland were restricted to 107 all out in 47.4 overs.
Right-arm off-spinner Loubser was the outstanding performer for South Africa, sending down 10 overs and snaring an extremely
miserly 2 for 12.
South Africa, in reply, reached 108 for 3 in the 28th over to win by seven wickets with 134 balls to spare.
Olivia Anderson did the business at the top of the order with the bat, making 46 not out, to guide SA to victory, as well
as a place in the final, and a place at the World Cup.
South Africa qualified for the semi-finals with a number of lop-sided
victories. Against the Netherlands, the home team's batting matched the dominance that the bowling exhibited throughout the
Brits chose to bat after winning the toss and the decision proved to be a good one, both for her personally and for her
She struck her maiden ODI century, ending unbeaten on 107 as SA totalled an imposing 277 for 4 in their 50 overs. Annelie
Minnie provided strong support with 73 and shared in a stand of 126 with Brits.
Alicia Smith provided fireworks at the end of the innings by smashing an 45 not out off just 30 balls.
The Dutch, in their turn at the crease, were unable to come to terms with the South African bowling attack. Helmien Rambaldo's
19 looked lonely on their scorecard as, apart from extras, it was the only score in double-figures. The next best batting
score was a paltry five by two players.
Ashlyn Kilowan knocked over 3 for 8, Smith 2 for 14, and Charlize van der Westhuizen 2 for 4 as The Netherlands slid to
50 all out in 41.4 overs. That gave the South African team a massive 227 run victory.
South Africa's two earlier wins were even more one-sided.
A merry run-around
In the match before the contest against the Dutch, Papua New Guinea won
the toss and elected to field, which was a decision that certainly prolonged the length of the contest. It also led to a merry
run-around for the islanders as they were made to chase leather by the South Africans.
The home team posted a huge 298 for 7, led by Olivia Anderson's 91. Claire Terblanche also excelled, striking 76 at better
than a run a ball and sharing in a partnership of 144 with the opener.
Papua New Guinea's reply lasted only 17.2 overs as they were skittled for just 28 runs. Kilowan snapped up 4 for 14, Marcia
Letsoalo claimed 2 for 3, and Charlize van der Westhuizen 2 for 4.
If the victory over Papua New Guinea was embarrasingly one-sided, South Africa's opening win over Bermuda almost defied
Put in to bat, Bermuda managed only 13 all out. Their total included only three runs off the bat as three players scored
one each, while the other eight were dismissed for ducks.
Sunette Loubser's spin bamboozled the opposition as she finished with 6 for 3 in four overs, while Sunette Loubser and
Alicia Smith both picked up 2 for 1.South Africa achieved victory in only four balls, racing to 15 without loss to put an
end to the mismatch.
Additional reporting: Cricket South Africa