Hoping for a historic high of a series win in the West Indies, the Proteas Women were instead humbled to a 115-run defeat as the Windies shared the series in fine style.
If ever a decision to bat first paid off, it was in the third ODI in Bridgetown as the West Indies Women went proactive and chose to take first turn at bat in a bid to square the series.
Coming off a duck in the first ODI, Hayley Matthews smashed the Proteas Women to all parts of Barbados to score her maiden ODI ton in her 39th ODI. Matthews added 176 for the second wicket with captain Stafanie Taylor, who scored 46 off 80 balls.
Matthews fell for 117 off 146 balls (17 fours), leaving the West Indies in a powerful position at 215-3 with nine overs left in the innings. Playing in her 114th ODI, Deandra Dottin continued where Matthews left off, racing to 59 off just 44 balls, with four fours and three sixes, before she was bowled by Marizanne Kapp.
The West Indies ended on a monster 292-5 off their 50 overs, setting the Proteas Women over 5.8 runs to the over for victory. Kapp picked up her third four-for in ODIs, ending with figures of 10-1-55-4 (econ 5.50), while Raisibe Ntozakhe did well to keep the West Indies batters in check throughout her 10 overs, conceding just 32 runs (econ 3.20).
Tumi Sekhukhune took some stick in only her second full ODI, going for 6.50 to the over, but she did pick up the prized scalp of Matthews (caught by Sune Luus) as a reward for her efforts.
To haul down a massive total, the Proteas Women were hoping for another stellar performance from big-hitting Lizelle Lee, but the opener fell for just two runs in the second over, while danger girl Luus was caught and bowled by Shamilia Connell for four at the end of the fifth over.
Laura Wolvaardt then teamed up with her skipper, Dane van Niekerk, in a 108-run stand for the third wicket at over 4.5 runs to the over, before Wolvaardt was stumped after a well-played 54 off 82 balls (five fours, S/R 65.85).
The next four Proteas wickets tumbled for just 38 runs in seven overs as the chances of victory vanished. Van Niekerk was the eighth wicket to fall, run out for a brilliant 77 off 105 balls (11 fours). With only Wolvaardt and Van Niekerk scoring above five runs, the Proteas managed a woeful 177 all out off 42.3 overs.
It would have been disappointing for the Proteas that the middle and lower order weren’t able to string runs together, not necessarily to challenge the Windies’ huge target, but even just for match practice and to build personal confidence and experience batting with one another. With such a limited playing schedule, it’s important for the players to grab every opportunity they can.
Dottin capped a fine personal performance by picking up 4-36 (econ 3.78) off 9.3 overs, while Shakera Selman did her bit to keep the Proteas’ run rate down, returning figures of 8-1-19-1 (econ 2.37).
The win moves the West Indies up to fourth spot on the ICC Women’s Championship points table, while the Proteas Women remain stuck in second-last position.
The five-match T20I series kicks off on Monday, 24 September at the Kensington Oval.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images