Proteas women fall agonisingly short as Pakistan win thriller in Karachi

FILE - Laura Wolvaardt in action for the Proteas. Photo: Marco Longari/AFP

FILE - Laura Wolvaardt in action for the Proteas. Photo: Marco Longari/AFP

Published Sep 1, 2023


The Proteas Women’s team came within a whisker of winning their first-ever T20I on Pakistan soil on Friday evening in Karachi, with the hosts clinching a thrilling match on the final ball.

Captaining the Proteas for the first time in a T20I, Laura Wolvaardt’s team set Pakistan a solid 151-run target after the skipper and her opening partner Tazmin Brits (78 off 64 balls, 9x4, 1x6) had earlier shared a 85-run stand for the first wicket in 12.4 overs.

The target appeared to be defendable despite Sidra Ameen (33) and Bismah Maroof (37) setting up Pakistan’s innings with top-order contributions.

It looked even more so after Pakistan seemed to commit suicide with four run outs during their innings as their pressure of the run chase escalated.

However, the Proteas are quickly discovering what life after Shabnim Ismail is all about. The leading wicket-taker in Proteas’ history across all formats retired after the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup earlier this year and her ability to strike while keeping the economy rate down at the backend of the innings was sorely missed.

None more so than when all-rounder Nadine de Klerk delivered a horror 16th over when the game was firmly in the balance. Not only did De Klerk, who was fresh off a plane from England after playing in The Hundred for the Oval Invincibles, concede 17 runs to bring Pakistan firmly back into the game, but she criminally delivered three wides off the final legitimated delivery of the over.

This left the experienced trio of Masabata Klaas, Marizanne Kapp and Ayabonga Khaka with 28 runs off the final 24 deliveries.

The drama intensified with Sune Luus and Kaap orchestrating the run out of Muneeba Ali (19) off the last ball of the penultimate over to leave Pakistan requiring eight runs with six balls remaining.

Wolvaardt handed the responsibility of the final over to Klaas, who did exceptionally well to the game right down to the very last ball. But unfortunately for the Proteas, she could not prevent Aliya Riaz and Fatima Sana scampering through for the winning single.

It had all looked so much more promising when the Proteas were at crease with Wolvaardt (44 off 38 balls) and Brits setting the tone upfront.

The only criticism of the pair was that their run-rate throughout the partnership hovered at six runs to the over, and potentially could have accelerated before the late onslaught from Brits that took the Proteas to a competitive total.

They will have another opportunity to rectify it when they face Pakistan in the second T20I at the same venue on Sunday (4:30pm start).


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