Mignon du Preez masterclass, bowlers help South Africa make it 4-0 against hapless West Indies

Mignon du Preez in action © Cricket South Africa

Mignon du Preez scored an unbeaten 65 in the fourth ODI between South Africa and West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua on Thursday (September 16) in the five-match series. It was a masterclass on how to bat on  slower surfaces which helped Proteas post a competitive total from a precarious position. The hosts then were clueless against a strong bowling performance as the visitors registered their fourth win on the trot.

Put into bat, having made as many as six changes, South Africa were in an unfamiliar territory when they lost in-form Laura Wolvaardt in the second over with Aaliyah Alleyne striking with her first ball. Tazmin Brits, opening in place of Lizelle Lee, and Lara Goodall took their time even though Goodall hit an early boundary off Alleyne.

After scoring only 13 runs in the first five over, Brits tried to broke free with a couple of boundaries in the sixth over but West Indies bowlers kept it tight. Introduced into the attack in the eighth over, Deandra Dottin tried to extract some bounce from the surface but found little success.

In the 13th over, South Africa lost Goodall as Hayley Matthews ended her struggle at the crease on nine of 36 balls. With van Niekerk also taking her time to adjust the pitch, it was slow going for the visitors as they reached only 57 when they lost a set looking Brits for 30 in the final ball of the 20th over.

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That brought du Preez to the crease and she looked at ease from the go hitting Cherry-Ann Fraser for a boundary through square-leg to get her innings going. The experienced right-hander kept herself busy taking singles while middling most of the balls she faced. Du Preez drove Fraser through mid-off for another boundary before van Niekerk became Fraser’s first victim in ODIs as South African skipper tried to hit one delivery across only to hit it back to the bowler.

Chloe Tryon added another 30 runs to the score with du Preez but miscued Shakera Selman straight to Shabika Gajnabi at long on in the 33rd over. Nadine de Klerk didn’t last long either as Anisa Mohammed sent her back to the pavilion for just one runs. South Africa were reeling at 122 for six at this point with almost 15 overs to go.

However, Sinalo Jafta’s arrival gave du Preez the much-needed company to form a partnership and steady South Africa’s innings. The pair started slowly and hit only one boundary between them during their unbeaten 63-run stand. But they rotated the strike and ran hard between the wickets with du Preez using her experience to drive the innings.

In between all this, du Preez brought up her 19th fifty-plus score in the format from 79 balls with a single off Matthews in the 46th over. South Africa eventually finished at 185 for six from their 50 overs.

For West Indies, Mohammed finished with figures of two for 26 from her ten overs while four other bowlers picked up one wicket each.

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In the chase, Reniece Boyce started with a boundary off Shabnim Ismail but Masabata Klaas dismissed her in the fourth over for just seven. Rashada Williams hit Nonkululeko Mlaba for a four in the fifth over but the left-arm spinner struck back with the wicket of Sheneta Grimmond as West Indies once again found themselves in early trouble with the score reading 19 for two.

From there, South Africa didn’t let the hosts score freely as Dottin and Williams struggled to pick up the pace. They added 29 more runs for the third wicket but it took them almost ten overs. In the 17th over, West Indies suffered a huge blow with van Niekerk accounting for Dottin and Matthews didn’t last long either when she was trapped in front by de Klerk.

However, West Indies had a brief phase of resurgence as Williams and Kycia Knight put on 41 runs for the fifth wicket to keep them in the game with the former looking solid despite not threatening to take the attack to the South Africa bowlers. But the re-introduction of Ismail bore fruits as Knight was dismissed. In the next over Williams was run out thanks to a mix up between her and Shabika Gajnabi.

It unraveled quickly for West Indies from there and they eventually finished on 150 for nine from their 50 overs falling 35 runs short of South Africa’s score.

Brief Scores: South Africa 185/6 in 50 overs (Mignon du Preez 65*, Tazmin Brits 30; Anisa Mohammed 2/26) beat West Indies 150/9 in 50 overs (Rashada Williams 42; Dane van Niekerk 3/23) by 35 runs