Wolvaardt, Ismail help South Africa level the series against the West Indies

Led by Laura Wolvaardt’s 117 and Shabnim Ismail’s four-wicket haul, South Africa drew level in the one-day series against West Indies, securing a comfortable 96-run win in the third ODI at the Wanderers on Thursday (February 3).

Despite losing Tazmin Brits and Anne Bosch early, the hosts put up a strong batting performance, courtesy of a 141-run stand between Wolvarrdt and Sune Luus. The South African opener registered her third ODI century, stroking 11 boundaries and a six, while Luus went on to score her ninth fifty.

In a partnership of measured aggression, the duo laid the foundation of South Africa’s massive score of 299 before the skipper was cleaned up by offspinner Anisa Mohammad in the 36th over. Her dismissal threatened to derail the hosts’ innings as it was soon followed by the wickets of Mignon du Preez and Wolvaardt, and South Africa slipped to 219 for 5 in the 43rd over.

However, the hard-hitting Chloe Tryon provided the late assault, and with a breezy 24-ball 43, provided the late acceleration for the hosts. She clubbed three boundaries and as many sixes. Pacer Shamilia Connell was the pick of the West Indian pacers, returning four wickets.

In response, the visitors were dented early courtesy Ayabonga Khaka’s twin bursts, dismissing openers Rashada Williams and Deandra Dottin. West Indies, who were already without Chedean Nation, who had injured herself while fielding, were further hit after skipper Stafanie Taylor was struck on the helmet, leading her to retire out after scoring a 24-ball 13.

Kycia Knight waged a lone battle with a 94-ball 69 – her highest ODI score, but there wasn’t ample support from the other end. Shabnim Ismail returned a four-wicket haul for the sixth time in ODIs to trigger West Indies’ collapse. The pacer returned figures of 4 for 37 as South Africa folded up for 203.

With the series hanging in balance, the two teams will face off for the final encounter at the same venue on February 6.