Proteas hoping for strong end to series and season

Ayabonga Khaka will earn her 100th ODI cap today. | BackpagePix

Ayabonga Khaka will earn her 100th ODI cap today. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 17, 2024



The Momentum Proteas Women will look to deliver the knockout blow and score maximum points when they play their final match of the ODI series against Sri Lanka at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom today.

With the first match rained out, the Proteas go into the final encounter – which is also their final game of the season – hoping do what they have often failed to do over the past few months: finish a series well.

Ayabonga Khaka will earn her 100th ODI cap today. | BackpagePix

Sri Lanka, currently ranked seventh in the ICC women’s ODI rankings, cannot win the series but a draw will hand them a critical two points to go home with. It will also improve their chances of automatic World Cup qualification, edging them closer to the West Indies, who occupy the sixth and final automatic qualification spot.

South Africa (on 117 points) will go into the last match ranked third behind Australia (163) and England (130) and with an impressive record in recent times in this format, they should be confident of getting another ODI series win against the islanders.

Ayabonga Khaka will join an exclusive club of players to have earned 100 or more caps for South Africa when she runs out today. She will become the first black African woman to represent the Proteas in 100 or more matches and only the third black African player in the country after fellow fast bowlers Makhaya Ntini and Kagiso Rabada.

“I’ve always looked up to Makhaya Ntini when I was growing up because I can relate to him since we are from the same part of the country. With Kagiso Rabada, he is still growing and gaining a lot of experience around the world, so it makes me happy to be a part of this.” she said.

Khaka picked up an impressive 3-28 and saw the back of Hansima Karunaratne (33), breaking her 61-run partnership with Kavisha Dilhari (42) that was threatening to pull the game back in Sri Lanka’s favour.

“I’m not a person that always looks at milestones. I enjoy playing for my country. I’m honoured to have represented my country for as many caps.

“For me, I’m just a cricketer, I’m achieving a milestone that many others have achieved before me and I’m just honoured to be one of them.”

Sri Lanka beat South Africa by seven wickets when the two sides met last month in the T20 series at the same venue, a match Khaka missed but she realises how important it will be for her and the rest of the team to learn from it.

“This series was all about the points, the T20 series was all about the preparation for the World Cup and we know how big it is. We will look at the T20 match we played here to try and understand the conditions.”

After the rained-out first fixture at Buffalo Park, the lanky bowler managed to swing nicely back into action in Kimberley.

“My bowling performance was okay but I’m just focusing on getting my confidence back and hitting my straps again. My focus is trying to hit my lines and lengths again and the results are not something I focus too much on, but it’s always great to contribute for the team,” she concluded.

Obakeng Meletse will be at the JB Marks Oval to cover the third ODI between the Momentum Proteas Women and Sri Lanka courtesy of Momentum today.