JOHANNESBURG - A dreadful collapse in the last 10 overs of their innings cost South Africa’s women’s team the chance of an historic series triumph in England on Friday night as the world champions ultimately strolled to a comfortable seven-wicket win giving them a 2-1 triumph in the One-Day International series.
The Proteas lost eight wickets for 67 runs in the last 10 overs of their innings crashing from a position of strength at 161/2 to be bowled out for 228 in the final over at Canterbury. England reached 232/3 in the 44th over.
The South Africans will look back at two key lbw decisions which went against them; the first saw the in-form opener Lizelle Lee given out for just two in the fourth over, although the ball looked to be missing the stumps, while England opener Tammy Beaumont survived a shout from Masabata Klaas on 23 and went on to make a fine 105. Replays showed the ball was going onto hit leg stump.
Dane van Niekerk’s side will rue those two moments, but will also look back at their own errors - once again with the bat - that cost them a series and valuable points on the Womens Championship table that would ensure automatic qualification for the 2021 World Cup.
Van Niekerk won the toss and chose to bat, and following the early loss of Lee, Laura Wolvaardt and Andrie Steyn added 51 for the second wicket. Crucially those runs came at less than four an over allowing the English to maintain a measure of control.
After Steyn was trapped lbw by Sophie Ecclestone for 19, Wolvaardt was joined by her captain and that duo shared a partnership of 103 for the third wicket. Again though the scoring rate was less than four an over, allowing England to keep control, although there was enough of a solid foundation for a late innings charge. However that did not materialise. Wolvaardt notched up her 10th half century, but after making 64 lifted Georgia Elwiss to mid-off.
Van Niekerk made a career best 95, but was then the victim of more brilliance by England wicket-keeper Sarah Taylor, who pulled off another stunning leg-side stumping to end the South African captain’s innings. Van Niekerk faced 106 balls and hit 11 fours and a six. There were some cameos from Chloe Tryon (19 off 16 balls) and Mignon du Preez (17 off 11 balls); but there were also two run outs, another stumping for Taylor and a couple of soft dismissals as the tourists collapsed in the last 10 overs.
Their final total looked about 50 short and the South African seam attack, it’s primary weapon needed to make several early breakthroughs. They managed just two; Amy Jones made 24 and Taylor, who scored a superb hundred in the second match, was bowled by Aya Khaka for just five. Then came the umpire’s error which saved Beaumont, and the England opener took advantage of that opportunity to bring up a maiden ODI century.
In combination with her skipper Heather Knight, she added 154 for the third wicket. Beaumont was eventually trapped lbw on 105 by Marizanne Kapp after facing 124 balls and hitting 14 fours. Knight was not out on 80 at the end off 83 balls, hitting seven fours. Both teams will be joined by New Zealand for a triangular T20 series that starts on Wednesday.