Johannesburg - Nadine de Klerk stood a class apart from her South Africa teammates as a spirited Ireland batting unit recovered from a dreadful performance in the opening women’s One-day International to post a more competitive total of 213 in the second match on Tuesday.
South Africa’s spinners were awful allowing Ireland, who must have been carrying scars after being bowled out for 69 on Saturday, a host of freebies on what was another blustery day at the Clontarf Cricket Club in Dublin.
Sune Luus won the toss and chose to field, understandably hoping her bowlers would be able to reopen Saturday’s wounds. However, besides Shabnim Ismail bowling Leah Paul with a beautiful delivery, that swung back into the left-hander and hit the top of the off-stump, there were no further breakthroughs for the Proteas in the first 10 overs.
The Irish captain Gaby Lewis showed patience initially, hoping someone could stick with her as she tried to build a partnership. After De Klerk had dismissed Rachel Delaney with a lovely outswinger and Raisibe Ntozakhe had Mary Waldron caught behind, Lewis shared a stand of 36 for the fourth wicket with debutant Sarah Forbes.
Forbes was run out, by a superb swift pick up and accurate throw from Laura Wolvaardt, who moved beautifully from backward point to leave Ireland 66/4 at the end of the 26th over.
Thereafter South Africa completely dropped their standards with the spinners in particular, failing to control both line and length and allowing the Irish batters a number of hittable deliveries, which the classy Lewis was happy to take advantage of.
Ntozakhe, Delmari Tucker, who made her debut on Saturday but didn’t bowl, Luus and Chloe Tryon bowled nine wides, while also conceding 14 of the 18 boundaries struck by the Irish.
🔁 INNINGS CHANGE— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 14, 2022
Shabnim Ismail returned figures of 3/31 while Nadine de Klerk claimed 2/31 as Ireland Women posted 213/8 in their 50 overs
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It was left to De Klerk to return for her second spell, to put the break on the home team. Having conceded four runs in two overs she created enough pressure to force a mistake out of Lewis, who got into an awful tangle trying to reverse sweep Luus and was bowled for 59, her fourth ODI half century, an innings that contained eight boundaries.
Lewis and Sophie MacMahon (42) shared a partnership of 69 for the fifth wicket, with MacMahon becoming De Klerk’s second victim after she played all around an off cutter and was bowled.
Luus was forced to go back to her spinners with Ayabonga Khaka unable to complete her full set of 10 overs, allowing the Irish batters a few more freebies late in their innings. The impressive teenager Georgina Dempsey finished with 45 not out off 54 balls, as the Irish surpassed the 200-mark and set South Africa a relatively challenging total on a pitch where there is plenty of help for the seamers especially if they target the stumps.
While Ismail once again picked up three wickets, De Klerk was the best of the Proteas bowlers finishing with 2/31, her discipline and control a stand out feature amidst a lot of mediocrity from her teammates.