Ismail, Luus combine to make it 3-0 after Wolvaardt’s heroics with the bat

Laura Wolvaardt scored 58, Shabnim Ismail picked up 3 for 18 © Cricket South Africa

On their comeback to international cricket post the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa repeated the feat they achieved against New Zealand in the last ODI series they played in January 2020.

Although Pakistan lower-order made another valiant collective effort after losing five wickets early, it was never enough as South Africa completed a 3-0 whitewash with an easier 32-run win at Kingsmead, Durban on Tuesday (January 26). Shabnim Ismail and Sune Luus headlined the bowling efforts after Laura Wolvaardt’s 58 and her 79-run partnership with Lizelle Lee set Pakistan a target of 202.

Put into bat for the third time by the visitors, South Africa innings started off haphazardly with three dropped catches – including two back-to-back drops off pacer Fatima Sana, and two free-hits despite only 13 runs coming from the first four overs.

In the fifth over, Lee, who was the beneficiary when Sidra Nawaz dropped her off Sana, got herself going when she hit Sana’s free-hit for four. That opened the floodgates with two more boundaries coming in the same over.

Lee kept much of the strike in the initial overs, facing 41 deliveries in the first ten overs. She smashed six boundaries in them and the opening pair brought up their fifty partnership from 64 balls with a sedate Wolvaardt batting on 11 from 21. They were looking good for more with Wolvaardt also starting to open up with a couple of boundaries to take the score to 79 from 17 overs.

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However in the next over, Sandhu had Lee caught at extra-cover by Diana Baig for 49 against the run of play to break the partnership. Wolvaardt didn’t let Lee’s dismissal affect her and took on the aggressive mantle as Sune Luus once again struggled to get going. Wolvaardt cut Aliya Riaz for two fours when she provided width and then added another pair of boundaries against Sandhu with her trademark flourish.

Even as Pakistan tried to restrict things at one end with Sana bowling a maiden to Luus, Wolvaardt brought up her fifty from 60 balls with back-to-back boundaries off Sana’s sixth over. Re-introduction of Baig into the attack saw her giving away only a single in an over before she had the stylish right-hander strangled down the leg-side.

Post Wolvaardt’s dismissal, the inexperienced South Africa middle-order struggled with Pakistan bowlers keeping it tight. First, Lara Goodall edged Baig behind the wicket for a duck in the same over. Hosts lost two more wickets in quick time to Pakistan spinners Omaima Sohail and Sandhu to reduce themselves from 124 for 1 to 132 for 5 in 31.5 overs.

From there, even though Anneke Bosch played a couple of big shots, it was Trisha Chetty’s patient effort of 34 runs that helped South Africa play out the overs. For Pakistan, Baig continued her impressive show and she had Ismail caught by Nahida Khan with an off-cutter before making Chetty her fourth victim.

South Africa managed just enough to last the entire 50 overs as they were bowled out for 201 in the final delivery of the innings. Baig finished with her career-best figures of 4 for 30, while Sandhu had two wickets to her name.

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In reply, even with the new opening pair of Javeria Khan and Nahida Khan, Pakistan’s fortunes didn’t change as they lost Nahida early once again as the right-hander was caught at slip off Ismail for just three off 11.

Sohail joined Javeria at three, the young batter who looked impressive in the first two matches was all at sea against Ismail. The experienced seamer chose not to bowl full at her this time around and was rewarded when she had Sohail caught a square-leg off a delivery that was dug in short.

From 12 for 2, Javeria and Kainat Imtiaz tried to resurrect the innings, but Pakistan struggled put any sort of momentum in the innings with the only boundary in the power play coming in the tenth over. The pair laboured to a 32-run partnership from 76 deliveries and Imtiaz’s painstaking 46-ball 16 finally came to an end when Goodall took a smart catch at short mid-wicket off Luus.

By the 26th over, Pakistan once again found themselves five wickets down for 7o-odd as Luus sent back Nida Dar and Javeria in consecutive overs. First, Dar played across the stumps and was caught by Ismail before Javeria offered the South Africa skipper a simple return catch to give her 100th ODI wicket. She also became the tenth player to do the double of scoring 1000 runs and taking 100 wickets.

Although Riaz and Nawaz put on a 39-runs for the sixth wicket, it was never going to be enough to challenge the Proteas. Once Ismail deceived Riaz with a well-disguised slow off-cutter, Pakistan innings flickered to a close even though Baig fought well to reduce the margin of defeat. They were eventually bowled out for 169.

For South Africa, Ismail was the most successful bowler with figures of 3 for 22 , while Khaka and Luus also picked up three wickets each.

Brief Scores: South Africa
 201/10 in 50 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 58, Lizelle Lee 49; Diana Baig 4/30, Nashra Sandhu 2/31) beat Pakistan 169 in 48 overs (Javeria Khan 33, Aliya Riaz 27; Shabnim Ismail 3/22, Ayabonga Khaka 3/29, Sune Luus 3/35) by 32 runs.

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