July 14, 2024

Brits, Wolvaardt help Proteas to ODI series win

CAPW TOWN – Records tumbled as Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits notched up match-winning centuries to help guide the Proteas Women to an emphatic 216-run victory in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) to secure a 2-1 series win in Benoni on Saturday.

Player of the Series Wolvaardt top-scored with 126 off 134 balls (13 fours, 1 six) while Player of the Match Brits recorded her maiden hundred in the format with 118 off 124 deliveries, including eight fours and two sixes to lead the Proteas to  316/4 before Bangladesh were restricted to 100 all out with 18.5 overs to spare.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first in sweltering conditions at Willowmoore Park as openers Brits and Wolvaardt set out to lay an ideal platform for the home side, with the pair getting through the powerplay unscathed to bring up their 50-run stand and help the hosts reach 60/0.

With both batters gaining more confidence at the crease, the imposing duo brought up the highest first-wicket partnership in women’s ODI cricket in Benoni, surpassing the previous best of 80 before the two players celebrated their 100-run stand in the 19th over as Wolvaardt raised her bat for a half-century.

Brits shortly followed suit with her own half-century, her second in as many ODIs, as South Africa reached 130/0 at the halfway mark of the innings.

Wolvaardt and Brits continued to make the most of the conditions and their form as the two punched gloves to mark their 150-run partnership to take the home side to 184/0 at the second drinks break.

After the interval, Wolvaardt raised her arms aloft for a fifth-career ton off 120 deliveries before South Africa and the top-order batters notched up 200 runs in the 39th over. For the second time in the 2023/24 season, two Proteas Women batters celebrated their hundreds in one match as Brits recorded her first-ever ODI century off 113 balls.

Wolvaardt and Brits then entered their names into the South African record books as they amassed the highest first wicket partnership (243) – breaking the previous record of 209 between Andrie Steyn and Suné Luus.

The historic stand was eventually brought to an end with Wolvaardt playing onto her stumps off a Marufa Akter (1/35) delivery after increasing her aggressive strokes, with the skipper departing on a well-played 126.

After the initial breakthrough, Brits was the next wicket to fall as Ritu Moni (1/39) trapped the tall batter LBW for a personal best score of 118 to leave South Africa on 251/2 in the 44th over.

With the launch pad set for an eye-catching total, Anneke Bosch (28*) and Luus went about their business in belligerent fashion as the pair added 47 runs for the third wicket, with the latter dispatching six fours to score 34 off 17 balls before being sent back to the hut off the bowling of Rabeya Khan (2/49) with the Proteas on the cusp of the 300-run mark.

Although Khan picked up her second wicket with the very next ball to see the back of Nadine de Klerk (0), South Africa managed to finish on an impressive 316/4 – the team’s third best total in ODI cricket.

Facing an arduous task of 317 for victory, Bangladesh got off to a stuttering start with the bat as Marizanne Kapp (2/21) and Ayabonga Khaka (3/15) struck crucial blows with two wickets each in the opening stanza, dismissing Shamima Sultana (6), Murshida Khatun (8), Fargana Hoque (8) and Nigar Sultana (3) to leave the touring side reeling on 28/4 after 6.2 overs.

Following an eventful start at the crease, the rebuild job for Bangladesh was taken on by Fahima Khatun (15) and Moni (33), with the pair combining for 36 runs before the former was trapped leg-before by Eliz-Mari Marx (1/6).

Still needing 239 runs to win, Bangladesh’s woes worsened as De Klerk mastered a direct hit to run out young all-rounder Shorna Akter (1) as South Africa edged closer to victory.

Despite late cameos from Moni and Nahida Akter (11), the visitors weren’t able to resist the South African bowlers as De Klerk (3/10) picked up three late wickets alongside Khaka’s third scalp of the day to see the Proteas over the line, securing a 216-run win in the 42nd over – South Africa’s third best winning margin in 50-over cricket.

The Proteas Women’s win sees them soar up the ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25 table, sitting joint-top with 18 points from 12 matches alongside Australia, as part of the qualification journey to the 2025 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.

3rd ODI – Willowmoore Park, Benoni (Saturday, 23 December) 

South Africa beat Bangladesh by 216 runs 

South Africa: 316/4 after 50 overs; L. Wolvaardt 126 (134), T. Brits 118 (124); R. Khan 2/49, M. Akter 1/35

Bangladesh: 100 all out after 31.1 overs; R. Moni 33 (67), F. Khatun 15 (26); N. de Klerk 3/10, A. Khaka 3/15.

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