The Proteas Women bounced back from Saturday’s defeat in emphatic fashion with an 11-run victory in the fifth and final T20 International (T20I) against New Zealand in Benoni on Sunday. to level the series 1-1.
After posting a competitive total of 155/5, which featured knocks from Tazmin Brits (45) and Suné Luus (36*), the Proteas managed to restrict the White Ferns to 144/8 thanks largely to the two three-wicket heroes in Nadine de Klerk (3/24) and Masabata Klaas (3/26).
South Africa was once again asked to set a score with the bat after losing the toss, with openers Laura Wolvaardt (24) and Brits looking to lay the ideal platform before Lea Tahuhu made the first inroads with the ball to remove Wolvaardt as the Proteas reached the end of the powerplay on 46/1.
Brits was then joined by Anneke Bosch, with the pair finding their rhythm out in the middle to help the home side arrive at 75/1 at the halfway mark of the innings prior to the two batters notching up a half-century stand for the second wicket.
Brits and Bosch’s 60-run partnership was eventually broken by Molly Penfold, as the tall right-armer bowled Bosch after a contribution of 28 off 24 balls before South Africa brought up three figures in the 13th over.
With Brits and Suné Luus at the crease, South Africa entered the final five overs of the innings on 115/2 before Tahuhu returned to the attack to strike again to claim the scalp of Brits for a well-played 45 off 38 balls (5 fours, 1 six).
Following the fall of the opener, the Proteas Women quickly lost the big-hitting exploits of Chloé Tryon (9) through an A. Kerr (1/27) delivery before Nadine de Klerk (1) was also sent back to the changeroom by Penfold just five balls later with the score on 133/5, with two overs left to play.
Thanks to crucial boundaries off the bat of Luus, South Africa finished on a competitive 155/5 after their allotted 20 overs.
The White Ferns’ Tahuhu (2/20) and Penfold (2/27) walked away with two wickets apiece to end as the visitor’s leading protagonists with the ball.
In defence of their first innings score, the Proteas Women looked to make the New Zealanders work hard for their runs as Klaas took the first wicket to dismiss Kate Anderson (11) before the away side punched back to end the powerplay on 39/1.
At the halfway stage of New Zealand’s chase, A. Kerr and Suzie Bates propelled their side to 64/1 after 10 overs, with South Africa’s bowlers keeping the game in the balance with a measured display.
After a period of patience from the batters, A. Kerr and Bates began to take on the South African bowlers as Kerr raised her bat for a second consecutive fifty to help New Zealand reach 112/1 after 15 overs.
The 97-run partnership between A. Kerr and Bates eventually came to an end at the hands of de Klerk as she removed Bates for 45 before Klaas struck for the second time to see the back of the dangerous A.Kerr after she recorded a 47-ball 61 (9 fours).
With South Africa’s tails up in the field, Klaas grabbed her third of the match as she had Sophie Devine (8) caught in the deep.
A ball later, de Klerk nabbed her second of the contest, bamboozling Maddy Green (1) with a change of pace. Later in the same over, a run out and a third wicket for de Klerk left the visitors reeling on 137/7 after 19 overs.
The match was then brought to an exciting end as Ayabonga Khaka (1/23) removed Penfold (0) with the second ball of the final over before delivering a barrage of yorkers to help seal a 11-run triumph and level the series 1-1 for South Africa.
For her 134 runs and one wicket across two matches, A. Kerr was named Player of the Series.
Proteas Women Squad – South Africa Inbound Tour vs New Zealand 2023/24:
Anneke Bosch (Fidelity Titans), Tazmin Brits (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Nadine de Klerk (Western Province), Mieke de Ridder (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Sinalo Jafta (DP World Lions), Ayabonga Khaka (DP World Lions), Masabata Klaas (Fidelity Titans), Suné Luus (Fidelity Titans), Nonkululeko Mlaba (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Tumi Sekhukhune (DP World Lions), Nondumiso Shangase (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Chloé Tryon (DP World Lions), Delmi Tucker (Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Fidelity Titans)