CAPE TOWN – West Indies Women flopped to gift South Africa Women a 2-1 win in their three-match International Twenty20 series that concluded at Newlands, Cape Town, today.
It was not the best result for the Windies Women just before flying out to India for the World Cup. But it was the Proteas Women first T20 series win over the West Indies and sounded a warning ahead of the ICC World T20 tournament. West Indies Women had earlier won the One-Day International series between the two teams by the same margin.
South Africa’s victory came fewer than three weeks after they beat England for the first time in a T20 and illustrated the progress the team has made since September 2014, when they were beaten 4-0 by England.
West Indies, who have not lost a series in the same period of time, will be disappointed with their failure to complete a straightforward chase, especially as they were well on course. They had reached 81 for 3 in the 15th over targeting 120 for victory and even though their captain Stafanie Taylor had been bowled around her legs by Dane van Niekerk, they had their other stalwart Deandra Dottin on hand.
Dottin seemed to be striking the ball better than any of her team-mates but when she attempted a loft over long-on, she mistimed to spark a collapse. South Africa took four more wickets in the next 18 balls and then squeezed the visitors at the end to pull off
a remarkable win.
On a slow pitch, run-scoring was tricky for both sides but South Africa would have felt they were at least 20 runs short at the halfway stage, especially because they had so many wickets in hand. They recovered from an early blow when Barbadian fast bowler Shamilia Connell had Trisha Chetty caught at slip and rebuilt cautiously through van Niekerk and Mignon du Preez.
The pair found the boundary just five times but rotated strike well to score at more than a run-a-ball and put on 48 for the second wicket. When van Niekerk was bowled as she tried to slog sweep Taylor over midwicket, and with the run-rate stagnating, du Preez took it on herself to try and force the pace. She managed only to give a catch to Stacy-Ann King at short midwicket off off-spinner Anisa Mohammed.
Marizanne Kapp and Lizelle Lee also found it heavy going but with South Africa yet to reach 100 and only two overs left, they took some risks. Lee was the only batter to clear the boundary and her efforts at the end gave South Africa something to defend but when West Indies knocked off the first 14 runs inside two overs, they would not have expected to be successful.
Moseline Daniels had opener Kycia Knight trapped lbw for 3 to provide some early hope but that only brought Taylor to the crease. She tried to end matters quickly with her aggressive approach and when she was bowled by van Niekerk for 21, Dottin took over. It was only when Dottin was caught for 24 off Masabata Klaas’ bowling that South Africa really fought back. Dottin had two sixes and a boundary in her 18-ball knock. Opener Hayley Matthews who was the second batter to be dismissed had earlier made 24 as well.
Kyshona Knight departed soon after Dottin, and sharp fielding resulted in the run-outs of Shemaine Campbelle and Shaquana Quintyne. Shabnim Ismail took a good catch off her own bowling to get rid of King and give South Africa belief. Daniels and Ismail bowled tightly at the end and South Africa’s fielders were on high alert to deny West Indies.
After the game Player of the Series Taylor said her girls bowled well but lamented that once again the batting had not clicked.
“We bowled well to restrict them to 119 on a good track but none of our top order batters batted through and that cost us the game,” she said.
The talented Jamaican all-rounder said she would like to see her team be more consistent with the bat. She alluded to their victory in the One-Day International series where they won two and lost one, noting they had now won one and lost two because of batting inconsistencies.
Taylor said the West Indies team would be returning to the nets and working hard on improving their batting consistency. She noted it was not a case of her team being better at ODIs but merely one of not performing well in the T20I series.
She described her first overseas tour as captain as challenging, adding she was learning all the time. Taylor said she was looking to continue scoring runs and contributing to the team. She gave her side a grade 7 for its overall performance in South Africa.
Du Preez expressed delight at the Proteas’ win and said it would go a long way in giving her team confidence going into the
T20 World Cup.
“Going into the T20 World Cup, we really wanted to end this series on a high. Having this group of girls to lead into the tournament is something very special. We are definitely taking a lot of confidence from these two wins into the competition and hopefully we can produce more special performances like this when we get to India,” she said.