Just when it seemed that all was lost, nothing, as seen during the two previous T20s having gone their way, the Proteas Women came out of nowhere to stun the White Ferns in the third game of the 5-match contest to keep the series alive.
Wellington’s breezy weather cooled by the warm surprise that Dane van Niekerk’s women had for the hosts, South Africa hit right back at the White Ferns. Another win in the next game for the visitors could well make the finale a highly-interesting contest featuring two of the most promising outfits in the Women’s game.
Even as the Proteas women are currently trailing the White Ferns 2-1, the sensational, rather thrilling 5-wicket victory, which came of the penultimate ball of the run-chase would offer sufficient hope to Niekerk’s unit who’ll thrive by the mantra: Never Say Die!
But how did the mighty White Ferns get on the backfoot; what were the talking points from the 3rd T20 featuring Proteas women and White Ferns?
A Clinical Team Performance By The Proteas Women
You wondered whether the dropped chances of Devine and Bates, early into the White Ferns inning, when Ismail and Kapp had been bowling well in tandem hurt the South African’s cause.
Maybe the team, with both big wickets in early- had the simple catches been taken- the team may have never had to soldier on, to bat well into the final over to chase a seemingly challenging 154.
Maybe a 130-odd would’ve made matters easy. But cricket isn’t played in the ebb of uncertainty. You win some, you lose some, and even as the South African fielding seemed initially rusty, the combined work done by the likes of Khaka- who removed the dangerous Priest- and Luus- who eventually removed Devine, although not before the 17th over- the Proteas sensed a chance.
Ayabonga Khaka- now 24 wickets from as many T20s- was as precise and economical with her two dismissals as was Luus- 2 wickets for the ever-smiling all-rounder, although at a tad bit expensive 9-an-over mark.
But one could say, the collective intent shone through for a team that was desperately in search of a victory, having been found wanting in the previous two encounters.
It was just a matter of time before someone could dig deep from the batting core and that’s precisely what one saw when the captain and vice-captain came to the fore.
Sophie Devine’s Sensational Run Continues
3 half-centuries in as many games. Currently, a run total that suggests 192 runs at an average of 96 a game!
There are bats women who score really well. There are those who make runs consistently. Then there are the likes of Sophie Devine who make scoring big runs seem an easy task, more like a routine exercise.
Ask none else other than the Proteas women, who’ve thus far, as revealed by the 3 T20s, have had to bear the brunt of Sophie Devine’ bat.
It’s a blunt one at that. The Kiwi captain, once again came out strong and struck a defiant 77, an inning that signaled the 13th T20 career fifty for a true giant of the game in New Zealand.
Moreover, the belligerent New Zealander was involved in a 60-run stand that came off just 41 balls, the other wrecker-in-chief being former captain and Devine’s close ally, one often seen partnering in wrecking bowling attacks: Suzie Bates.
Yet, Devine, who plundered 77 of New Zealand’s 153- over fifty percent of the side’s team total- wasn’t able to prevent a heartbreaking loss.
du Preez and van Niekerk’s Vital Stand
What an emphatic sight it is to witness a great of the game partnering with another great in making? In other words, what a sight it is to see a former captain steadying the ship for the side with the force currently in charge of the team’s leadership.
As the Proteas women, yet again lost both openers cheaply, Lee scoring only 18 while Wolvaardt conjuring yet another disappointing score (1), it was down to the famous Protean middle-order to revive the precarious situation.
This meant that with the side already struggling at 1-2 (which is when Wolvaardt departed), then being 40-2, then finally to 56-3, it was up to Mignon du Preez and her captain Dane van Niekerk to repair the Proteas Women’s side.
That’s when an important and perhaps defining 46-run stand rose to the fore that allowed the hitherto struggling South Africans t claw back into the contest.
While the captain stayed put for nearly 7 overs, compiling a useful 42, batting patiently to hold an end, Mignon didn’t take long to announce her intentions, clubbing a towering six in her breezy 22-ball-23.
But even as the Du Preez, with scores of 40 and 20 in the last two games walked back, South Africa had been steadied, the next-woman in- Chloe Tyron- doing abrupt damage for the White Ferns just when they would’ve sensed a chance.
Powerful and possessing the gift of timing, Chloe Tryon is to the South Africans what Deandra Dottin is for the West Indies or what Shafali Verma is for the Indian women’s side.
But just that before the 3rd T20- with another two to go in the series- Chloe Tryon’s bat had been kept in check by the daunting White Ferns side.
Though, this wasn’t to happen at the Basin Reserve as the chasers put on a show with the bat, clubbing at nearly 10-an-over from the final 5.
Only 3 deliveries were left in the 15th over when the big-hitting vice-captain Chloe Tryon walked into the middle. South Africa still needed another 52 were needed and only 33 deliveries were left.
Moreover, the big-swashbucklers in Lee, Wolvaardt, and Kapp had been all dismissed. But while it took Tryon nearly 6 deliveries to settle in, she would break free with a powerful smack on Jess Kerr to register the first boundary. Next up, was captain Devine, who would be greeted with a powerful punch down to four.
Another 3 towering sixes and a few deliveries later, the Proteas Women had been pulled to safer seas, the vice-captain conjuring a vital 16-ball-34, the kind of cameo only the most gifted destructors can fashion. And so, we saw the conception of one!
Trending Stories in Kyrosports:-
- Proteas Women have a do or die situation against the West Indies now
- PKL 2019: Delhi aims to win against Telugu Titans
- India vs South Africa T20 series: MS Dhoni May Not Be a Part of Series