Johannesburg — Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka were in devastating form with the new ball setting up a dominant victory for the Proteas in the opening One-Day International against Ireland in Clontarf on Saturday.
The home team, missing several starters to injury, university studies and in the case of Celeste Raack on Saturday, a family emergency, were totally outgunned by a South African team whose experience proved too much for the hosts.
Ireland had won the toss and in blustery conditions at the Castle Avenue ground, chose to bat. The pitch — a revolutionary hybrid surface that utilises turf stitched together using laser technology — looked green, and appeared a little quicker than those used for the T20 matches at the Pembroke Club last week.
It certainly suited Ismail and Khaka, who relished bowling in conditions assisting swing along with seam movement. The crucial wicket was that of the Irish captain Gaby Lewis, who’d shown in the T20s that she was a class above the rest of her teammates with the bat.
South Africa had understandably given her special attention and Ismail executed the perfect plan, keeping her scoreless, with straight and full deliveries, before producing a surprise bouncer that Lewis top edged while attempting to pull, giving the bowler an easy catch in her follow through.
Getting Lewis so early, sent a shudder through the Irish dressing room, as the tourists had hoped, and the rest of the batting order folded meekly.
Khaka had the left-hand opener Leah Paul dismissed for two, well caught at slip by Andrie Steyn, while Ismail also bowled Rachel Delaney for the three ball duck. Nadine de Klerk replaced Khaka, and trapped the veteran wicket-keeper Mary Waldron lbw for three, to reduce Ireland to 14/4 in the 12th over.
A 40 minute rain delay briefly brought the hosts some respite, but once play resumed, South Africa’s spinners ripped through the middle order. Luus, picked up three wickets, with her leg-spin, while offie, Raisibe Ntozakhe had Shauna Kavanagh caught at mid-off by Khaka.
Seventeen year old Georgina Dempsey had a bit of fun, thrashing three consecutive boundaries off Ismail, before the veteran quick, clean bowled Jane Maguire later in the same over.
That gave Ismail her third wicket, making her the second highest wicket taker in ODIs with 181, although she’s still got a bit of work to do to catch the great Indian seamer Jhulan Goswami, who tops that category with 252 wickets.
Steyn, who opened alongside Laura Wolvaardt, and Lara Goodall shared a partnership of 55 runs for the second wicket, as South Africa chased the modest target with little fuss finishing the match in the 16th over.
Delmari Tucker was handed a maiden international cap, but besides a dropped catch late in the Irish innings — a difficult diving effort — she had little else to do, and would have been pleased to have made a relatively quiet start to her international career.
The second match will be played on Tuesday.
South Africa 70/1
SA won by nine wickets