Malawi start Netball World Cup with confident win against South Africa
Malawi beat rivals South African netball team 58-51 to start the Netball World Cup with a clear win in a match played in Sydney on Friday. The match was billed as an opening day blockbuster and the tightly-fought contest didn’t disappoint.
Malawi dominated the match from the start, when they turned over the Proteas’ opening centre pass to score the first goal. The Proteas appeared tentative in the early stages of the match, and Malawi took advantage.
First quarter break saw a two point lead to Malawi with the Queens displaying a physical game. Tight defence was a feature of their performance as well as shooters Kumwenda and Sindi Simtowe shooting a combined 87% accuracy.
Impressive defence by Caroline Mtukule and Tower Vinkhumbo as well as strong on court presence from the experienced Kumwenda saw Malawi win the second quarter by three, leading 27-22 at half time, stepping up the intensity when it counted.
South Africa was able to capitalise on a few errors from Malawi throughout the third quarter which saw the scores level at 34-all with five minutes to play. South African shooter Lenize Potgieter increased her volume shooting 13 from 14 attempts. Thandie Galeta who was introduced at WA for Malawi at the start of the third quarter was replaced by starting WA Bridget Kumwenda after Galeta called an injury time with six minutes left to play. At the end of the third quarter Malawi managed to increase their margin by four to lead 41-37 due to some stunning displays of athleticism.
Despite a strong shooting performance in the fourth quarter by Potgieter, Malawi was able to build on their momentum from the third quarter and provide the African country with their big winning margin of seven goals over rivals South Africa.
Malawi goalshooter Mwayi Kumwende, who has been out of the team for a year, celebrated her return to the side with an outstanding match. She missed only three attempts out of 43, and the South African defenders Karla Mostert and Adele Niemand had their work cut out for them.
The Proteas fought hard throughout the match, achieving a number of turnovers but Malawi was stronger and went away with a 58-51 win.