A quick-fire half-century and two wickets for South Africa Women’s Marizanne Kapp were the difference in another tight contest against Sri Lanka.
The tourists have acquitted themselves well, coming within seven and 30 runs of two victories, but have conceded the series, falling 2-0 behind with a game to play.
The hosts suffered a blow before the game had even begun, with captain Dane van Niekerk, who starred in the first ODI with her maiden ODI century and two wickets, ruled out through injury. Fellow leg-spinning all-rounder Sune Luus stepped in to lead, and though she lost the toss, she was able to watch contentedly as South Africa’s top three laid a strong platform, marching to 106/1.
Opener Laura Wolvaardt and No. 3 Lara Goodall each struck fifties – for the latter, her first in international cricket – but their dismissals, sandwiching some middle-order profligacy, meant the Proteas were 183/6 with eight overs to bat, and in danger of squandering their good start. They were thankful to Marizanne Kapp, who blitzed her way to 69 not out off 34 balls, finishing with a strike-rate of 203, the sixth-highest by any batter in Women’s ODIs for a score of 50 or more.
Wicket-keeper Faye Tunnicliffe provided solid support in an 85-run stand, and South Africa ended on a daunting 268/7. Sri Lanka had never chased as much to win an ODI, and after the early loss of Prasadani Weerakkody, who edged behind off Kapp, and a rain delay, Chamari Athapaththu raced out of the blocks to give them belief. She crashed 13 fours and three sixes in her 78-ball 94 before edging Luus to the keeper, with all but 39 of Sri Lanka’s runs to her name.
Anushka Sanjeewani had at least stuck with her, and she carried on to take Sri Lanka to 163/2 before two wickets in two balls dented their progress. If the first was unlucky – a Kapp yorker was dug out only to roll back onto the stumps – the latter was foolhardy, Shashikile Siriwardene desperate to get off the mark and instead run out by a Wolvaardt direct hit.
Through Harshita Madavi and Nilakshi de Silva Sri Lanka struggled up to near 200, but the required rate was becoming a concern, and once that partnership was broken, they collapsed in a heap, losing their last six wickets for 41 runs.