South Africa Women 108 for 2 (Goodall 48, Bosch 44*) beat Ireland Women 104 (Kavanagh 33, Sekhukhune 3-20, Mlaba 2-15) by eight wickets
On a day so windy that it was too dangerous for the broadcast cameras to be mounted on the stanchions, it was Ireland who were blown away in the series decider against South Africa. After Ireland took the lead in the opening match on Friday, the contest between the two sides became progressively less intense as South Africa’s bowlers adjusted to the slower, lower surfaces and proved difficult to get away.
Ireland made a positive start and were 64 for 2 at the halfway stage of their innings but career-best hauls from Nonkululeko Mlaba
and Tumi Sekhukhune
, and able support from Nadine de Klerk and Ayabonga Khaka, restricted them to 104 and bowled them out with nine deliveries left in their innings. That total included South Africa’s 11 wides, as the gusts challenged their control of the ball. Ireland were more disciplined and sent down only three wides but South Africa swatted away the score in 13.5 overs.
After opening the bowling in the first two matches in the series – with just one over upfront – left-arm spinner Mlaba was given a second over in the Powerplay after her first cost just two runs. One of them was a wide, and she didn’t bowl to Gaby Lewis
, who had taken her on in the first two matches, so with Lewis off strike at the start of the third over, Mlaba continued. She conceded two singles and then had Mary Waldron out lbw to leave Ireland in a shaky position on 11 for 2. She even got rid of Lewis, but only when she returned in the 11th over and had Lewis caught at mid-on, and ended with career-best figures of 2 for 15.
Ireland’s stand-in captain did not face any of the first 10 balls of the innings but watched from the other end as her opening partner Leah Paul struggled against Mlaba and was then caught at wide slip off Khaka. Lewis faced two balls off Khaka but was soon back to the non-striker’s end for Mlaba’s second over. After five overs, Lewis had scored only six off 12 balls. She went on to score 23 more runs off the next 20 balls she faced, including five fours and shared in a 54-run second-wicket partnership with Shauna Kavanagh. They set Ireland up well but, as was the case in the previous two matches, Lewis was unable to bat through and her dismissal caused a mini-collapse. Ireland lost their last eight wickets for 39 runs in eight overs to fall away in the second half of their innings.
Without many to defend, Ireland needed an early breakthrough and Jane Macguire got it. She had Tazmin Brits
caught behind off her second delivery, which moved away from the right-hander and appeared to take the outside edge. All the Irish players were in celebration, when Brits’ unhappiness became clear. She stood next to the pitch, with her arms outstretched, as if to ask why she had been given out, and then left muttering. She may yet be sanctioned for her disbelief at her dismissal but it did not do too much damage to South Africa’s chances.
Good, better, but not yet best
‘s promotion to the top of the order saw her dismissed for a duck in the first match this series, score her first T20I half-century in the second and could have seen her bat South Africa to victory in the third. She was two short of fifty, and had played an aggressive knock laced with nine fours, when Anneke Bosch
asked her to hustle through for a single but Lewis’ throw came in quickly to Waldron. Goodall was short of her ground when the stumps were broken and her second-wicket stand with Bosch ended on 72, but she left in good spirits. She fist-bumped Bosch before making her way off and smiled as she left the ground, leaving Bosch and Laura Wolvaardt to seal the deal. Bosch was unbeaten on 44 at the end.