The Proteas Women beat Pakistan by three runs despite an ordinary batting performance in the first ODI of the series in Durban.
The Proteas Women were mediocre with the bat, Marizanne Kapp top-scoring with just 47. A clutch of batters got starts, but none were able to kick on to a score that would have formed the backbone of a highly competitive score on a tricky batting deck.
Laura Wolvaardt (40), Lara Goodall (27) and Mignon du Preez (29) all looked good before being dismissed, but the Proteas Women knew they left themselves well short of a par score.
Ultimately that didn’t matter, as Shabnim Ismail spearheaded the attack, finishing with figures of 3-42, which included two wickets off consecutive deliveries, the first which broke a dangerous 51-run partnership between Aliya Riaz and Nida Dar.
The tourists put up a strong fight at the death, Dar and Diana Baig building a threatening partnership. The pair were aided by poor fielding (numerous dropped catches) and loose bowling, and got to the last two overs needing 23, with two wickets in hand.
Ismail conceded 10 in the penultimate over, and the responsibility fell to Nadine de Klerk, who had to prevent Pakistan from getting a boundary from the last ball and did.
Ismail was the pick of the bowlers, but it would be remiss not to note the excellent efforts of Nonkululeko Mlaba, whose 10 overs cost just 19 runs. In the context of the defence of a small target, that was gold.