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Captain van Niekerk inspires Proteas to victory

Captain Dane van Niekerk was the pick of the bowlers with her leg spinners, she completed her four overs with figures of 3-18.

FILE: Proteas Women's Dane van Niekerk. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - The Proteas got their three-match T20i series against Sri Lanka off to a perfect start with an emphatic 7-wicket win at Newlands. This was mainly thanks to Dane van Niekerk who put in a captain's display with both bat (71 off 55) and ball (3-12).

The visitors won the toss on what seemed like a decent Newlands track, the same strip used for Wednesdays ODI.

Unfortunately for them, they struggled to get any momentum in their innings after losing their first wicket while South Africa did well to restrict Sri Lanka to just 98 for 8 in their 20 overs.

Captain van Niekerk was the pick of the bowlers with her leg spinners, she completed her four overs with figures of 3-18.

She was ably assisted by Masabata Klaas (2-23) who got the opening wicket of the innings and Tumi Sekhukhune (1-18).

Surprisingly, the Proteas usually destructive opening bowling of Shabnim Ismail went wicketless for the match.

In their reply, it was quite clear van Niekerk and recently included Tazmin Brits were going to take the attack to the Sri Lankan bowlers.

The pair had a confident beginning to the chase but Brits was out first after attempting one shot too many, South Africa was 20-1 at the time.

Number three Marizanne Kapp did not hang around for too long and she was dismissed for 5 to leave South Africa two down.

Van Niekerk was on a mission to take South Africa to the finish line by herself; the captain was dealing almost exclusively in boundaries and the Sri Lankans had no answer to her onslaught.

Not even the loss of Mignon du Preez could stifle her progress as she ended the match with her 13th boundary, an apt finish for van Niekerk who made 71 off 55 balls.

South Africa take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.