The hugely anticipated first season of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Professional Domestic Women’s League got underway with One-Day Cup action as the DP World Lions sealed a six-wicket victory over newly-promoted Recon Tactical Free State in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Kirstie Thomson’s three-wicket haul and an unbeaten run-a-ball 89* (16 fours) along with Sunette Viljoen-Louw’s action-packed 73 off 61 deliveries (10 fours, 1 six) helped the home side chase down Free State’s initial score of 247/6 which was inspired by knocks from Mignon du Preez (79 off 95 balls; 11 fours, 1 six) and rising talent Miane Smit (79 off 91 balls; 13 fours).
The other day’s match involving the defending 50-over champions Western Province at home against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins was abandoned before a ball was bowled due to wet conditions.
At the DP World Wanderers Stadium, after winning the toss and electing to field, the Lions made early inroads into the visitors’ batting order as Lehlohonolo Meso (2/39) picked up two of the first three wickets to fall to leave the visitors reeling on 30/3.
The quick loss of wickets led to the middle-order pair of du Preez and Smit entering the fray, with the duo combining for a 169-run stand for the fourth wicket to propel Free State to 199/3 before Thomson struck three times, including two scalps in two balls, to rock the team from Bloemfontein and leave them 202/6 after 41 overs.
Through cameos from Zintle Kula (25*) and Anica Swart (18*), Free State eventually ended on 247/6 after their allotted overs. Thomson finished as the leading wicket-taker for the Lions with figures of three for 30 in her five overs.
In their response with the bat, the Lions made a positive start at the crease, notching up an opening 47-run stand between Palesa Mapoo (23) and Nonkululeko Thabethe (18), before the introduction of Viljoen-Louw and Thomson carried the hosts to 198/3 in the 39th over thanks to a 117-run partnership.
Despite the Lions losing Viljoen-Louw and youngster Karabo Meso (3), Thomson partnered up with Jenna Evans (22*) to get the home side across the line with 5.1 overs to spare.
Yolandi Potgieter was Free State’s leading bowler with a return of two for 56 in a valiant effort with the ball as her side fell to a defeat in their first outing since being promoted to the first division.
The inspired cricket from the CSA Professional Domestic Women’s League resumes on Sunday, 01 October as the T20 Challenge makes its return for the 2023/24 season, with Western Province taking on the Dolphins meanwhile the Lions seek to defend their T20 title against Free State in Johannesburg.
Fixtures – CSA Professional Domestic Women’s League – T20 Challenge Division One: