Australia has clinched the win in the three-match one-day international series against South Africa. They avenged their unexpected defeat in the second match with a 110-run victory at North Sydney Oval, which was affected by rain.
On Saturday, captain Alyssa Healy (60) won the toss and set the foundation for the home team’s score of 277 for nine. Despite a slow start, Beth Mooney finished strong with 82 not out. The duo’s contributions meant that the Proteas needed to achieve their highest-ever run chase to replicate their unexpected win on Wednesday and secure the series.
Kim Garth, who took three wickets for 14 runs, made an early breakthrough by dismissing the Proteas captain Laura Wolvaardt (who was struggling and only scored three runs) caught behind. Her fellow opening bowler Megan Schutt was absent due to personal reasons.
During her initial over, Tahlia McGrath was able to lure Tazmin Brits, who was the only player to have begun scoring at that point, into hitting towards deep midwicket where she was caught at 31 runs. McGrath (3 for 23) then repeated the same tactic with Marizanne Kapp, the key player in Wednesday’s surprising victory, who was dismissed for a fourth-ball duck after being caught by Darcie Brown in the deep.
After 14 overs, South Africa’s score plummeted to 63 for four before rain halted the match. When play resumed over 90 minutes later, they were tasked with chasing a revised total of 238 runs within 31 overs.
Alana King, a leg-spinner, caused chaos in the second half of the game, revealing the weak batting lineup of the visiting team with her best-ever ODI performance. She got rid of Sinalo Jafta and Masabata Klaas, both without scoring, and almost completed a hat-trick, but the ball narrowly missed the off-stump to save Ayanda Hlubi. South Africa then lost four more wickets without scoring, ultimately getting all out for 127 in the 25th over when Garth bowled Hlubi.
Australia has regained the upper hand in the multi-format series with their recent win, setting the stage for the one-off Test match next week. In order to tie the series on overall points, South Africa must secure a victory in the upcoming match in Perth.
During Australia’s turn to bat, Healy was fortunate when she was not caught at deep backward square-leg by Anneke Bosch after reaching 31 runs. Bosch also missed two other potential catches during the game, resulting in a mixed performance for the tourists. Healy achieved her 17th half-century in One Day International matches by hitting two consecutive fours down the ground off Nadine de Klerk. However, she was eventually caught at the same place where Bosch had previously dropped her.
After Healy’s departure, McGrath (44) helped revive the home team by scoring five consecutive fours off young fast bowler Hlubi. However, she was dismissed by Chloe Tryon in the following over, losing her middle stump. In the 43rd over, Mooney gradually reached her 16th half-century with a single to midwicket before starting to increase her scoring rate.
Mooney’s 10 fours included a memorable scoop shot off Kapp that bounced to the boundary. Despite hitting consecutive sixes off quick bowler Klaas, King (17) was unable to keep the strike long enough for Mooney to reach her century.
Klaas achieved her personal best figures in a One Day International (ODI) match, and nearly caused another collapse of the top-order when Litchfield hit a shot to Brits at cover in the sixth over. She then successfully dismissed Ellyse Perry (24) with an inswinger that hit middle stump, breaking her 82-run partnership with Healy. In the final over, Klaas only allowed Australia to score four runs and convinced King to hit a shot to the deep fielder and get caught out.