South Africa had never beaten West Indies in a women’s T20 International until today. The last significant meeting between these two sides was at Leicester in last year’s 50 over World Cup. There were shades of that game at Saint Lucia today. West Indies were bowled out for 48 and when West Indies were reduced to 29 for 4 there were fears it would end with the same disastrous results. This time they found the resolve to turn things and win by 31 runs.
West Indies managed to get to 107 for 7 from their 20 overs. Much of that was due to a fifth-wicket partnership between Natasha McLean and Kycia Knight of 45.
While most games in this World T20 have seen a spin bowling attack, South Africa started with four seam bowlers. It worked as Shabnim Ismail struck twice in her first over. She had Hayley Matthews caught at slip after Lizelle Lee could only parry the edge. Next ball Stefanie Taylor could only edge behind and Lee took a regulation catch.
It was important that West Indies didn’t lose any more wickets in the powerplay. That didn’t go to plan as Deandra Dottin found Sune Luus to go for 12. The pressure was telling on the West Indies top order and when Moseline Daniels bowled Shemaine Campbelle with her first delivery a rebuilding job was crucial.
McLean and Knight dug in. It wasn’t easy to start with but with every ball, the confidence started to flow. McLean scored 28 from 24 balls before Luus accounted for her. Knight had scored a four and six off consecutive balls before Dane Van Niekerk and her caught by Chloe Tryon for 32.
South Africa made life difficult for themselves as Lee and Laura Wolvaardt found runs to come by. Wolvaardt appeared to be trying too hard to force the ball away, while West Indies bowled tight lines to Lee. The run-rate was still not beyond South Africa and when Wolvaardt was out caught it looked like it could help South Africa. Marizanne Kapp was a calming influence on the nervy looking Lee. It took a good catch from Brittany Cooper in the outfield to account for Lee.
48 for 2 saw the start of a collapse that saw South Africa make the wrong decisions at the wrong time. Although van Niekerk was run out by a great pick up and throw from Dottin. Stefanie Taylor made up for her first ball duck as she returned career-best figures of 4 for 12.
The West Indies were excellent in the field and took all the important changes. This result will be hard for South Africa to take. It means they must beat England to stand any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
West Indies also have to face England and on the evidence of today could yet control who joins them in the semi-finals.