Laura Wolvaardt in action. ©ICC

In the second ODI, South Africa bounced back brilliantly to level the series. After dismissing Pakistan for 147, the comfortably chased the total, with eight wickets to spare.

Having won the toss, South Africa decided to field first. Pakistan’s opening pair in Nahida Khan and Sidra Ameen got their team off to a steady start, reaching their 50 partnership inside 12 overs. However, soon after reaching that milestone, N. Khan, who looked to be in good touch having smacked six boundaries, played a loose shot and was dismissed for 37. Ameen then joined forces with Javeria Khan to add a further 34 runs to the total, following which she departed for a patient 59-ball 24. An over later, J. Khan followed suit. After a solid start, Pakistan found themselves floundering at 99-4.

But with skipper Bismah Maroof and all-rounder Aliya Riaz at the crease, they would have been hopeful of putting a challenging total on the board. The two looked determined to do just that. Maroof, the aggressor of the two, hit four boundaries and kept the scoreboard ticking over, while Riaz provided silent support. With the partnership looking ominous, skipper Sune Luus brought Shabnim Ismail back into the attack. In the second over of her new spell, Ismail claimed the valuable wicket of Maroof. Though Omaima Sohail, who replaced Maroof, struck a four off the very next delivery, Pakistan failed to recover from that loss. An over later, Masabata Klass was thrown the ball and added her name to the record books by becoming South Africa’s hat-trick hero; just the second South African woman to achieve this feat and tenth overall. Riaz, Sohail and Sidra Nawaz were all sent packing by her. Marizanne Kapp then took the remaining two scalps. Pakistan was bundled out for 147, losing their last six wickets for as many runs.

The shortcoming in the tourists’ inning was the set batters giving up their wickets, instead of going on to make a big score. This meant wickets were lost fairly regularly and there was too much left to do at the end. To defend the low total, Pakistan needed to deliver their bowling performance from the last match again.

Unfortunately for them, Lizelle Lee came to the crease with all guns blazing. The powerful opener took 16 runs off the first over. By the time the teams broke off for lunch, South Africa were in comfortable place at 33 for no loss, at the end of seven overs. Lee’s innings came to an end at 40 when she could not get enough on the bat to punish a slightly wide delivery by Sohail. However, her opening partner Laura Wolvaardt anchored the innings. Pakistan were only able to make one more breakthrough. Sana Mir dismissed Andrie Steyn for 11, taking wicket number 146 for her career, which puts her at the joint top of female spinners leading wicket-taking table, with Lisa Sthalekar and Anisa Mohammad. Wolvaardt guided her side home, finishing on an unbeaten 74. The hosts’ cruised to an eight wicket win, with 80 balls remaining.

The series is now level. South Africa also add two more points to their ICC Women’s Championship tally. They now overtake Pakistan to occupy the fifth place. The next match will be crucial, not only in deciding the winner of the series, but also in determining who will claim the remaining all-important two ICCWC points.