In the second Twenty20 International in Canberra, South Africa defeated Australia for the first time ever, winning by six wickets. On Sunday, they bowled well enough to restrict the hosts to a below-average total of 142 for 6, which they managed to reach with six balls remaining, led by captain Laura Wolvaardt’s undefeated half-century.
At Manuka Oval, Australia made scoring look difficult, but South Africa’s opening players soon established the foundation they needed to secure the historic victory. After the tourists lost 3 for 22, Wolvaardt (58 not out) and Tazmin Brits (41) contributed 75 for the first wicket, with the former remaining to negotiate a potentially difficult final stanza.
It was the first time South Africa had won the 24 women’s cricket matches between the two countries, including ODIs and T20Is. They have never been closer than in a tied ODI in 2016. Following Australia’s victory in the opening match on Saturday, the outcome on Sunday also squared the multi-format series. Laura Wolvaardt recognized the potential significance of the outcome for her side as they prepare for the T20 World Cup in October.
After her team went from 109 for 1 to 110 for 3 in three balls, Laura Wolvaardt saw a mini-collapse, but she steadied the ship and hit her half-century to lead them to victory. Brits, who made 59 off of 59 batted balls on Saturday, kept up her hot streak with eight more fours in a masterful effort.
Australia had high hopes after winning the toss and choosing to bat first because they had defeated the opposition 147 for 6 on Saturday without needing to shift into second gear. However, in a sluggish performance, they were unable to locate openings or deliver heavy blows; the only players who appeared at ease were captain Alyssa Healy (29 off 24 balls) and Grace Harris (31 not out off 18).
Spin combo Nonkululeko Mlaba and Chloe Tryon tied things down in the middle overs, while pace bowler Masabata Klaas was especially threatening, taking 2 for 16 from three overs. South Africa exerted such oppressive pressure on the hosts that they managed to hold them without a boundary for 29 balls at a critical interval between the 13th and 18th overs.
For the second consecutive game, Tahlia McGrath struggled to score quickly, managing just 23 off 28 deliveries. Ellyse Perry had a similar experience (18 off 19 balls). With three fours and a six in her undefeated thirty-one, Harris gave Australia something to defend as they took eighteen runs off Khaka’s last over of the innings.
Brief scores: Australia vs South Africa 2nd ODI
Australia 142/6 in 20 overs (Grace Harris 31*; Masabata Klaas 2/16) lost to South Africa 144/4 in 19 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 58*, Tazmin Brits 41; Ashleigh Gardner 2/26) by 6 wickets.