Bowlers, Steyn, Goodall help South Africa clinch ODI series with dominant win

Andrie Steyn (L) and Lara Goodall were the stars with the bat © Getty Images

South Africa put on another clinical performance to clinch the ODI series and four ICC Women’s Championship points as they beat Ireland in the second ODI at the Castle Avenue in Dublin on Tuesday (June 14). Chasing 214 for a win, Andrie Steyn and Lara Goodall shared a huge second-wicket partnership to take the Rainbow Nation home.

Relentless opening burst

Opting to field first, South Africa opening bowlers were relentless with Shabnim Ismial and Ayabonga Khaka bowling a probing spell upfront. Leah Paul tried leaving deliveries as Ismail got the ball to go away from the left-hander. However, Paul was eventually bowled as Ismail got one at the stumps of the Ireland opener.

Promoted to number three, Rachel Delaney tried to stay as Gaby Lewis also took her time at the other end. With the persistent lengths of Ismail and Khaka, the duo had no options, but to leave or block the deliveries and bide their time. Lewis took 13 balls to get off the mark, while Delany was on six off 29 balls as Ireland scored only 17 runs from the power play.

De Klerk’s follow up act

Nadine de Klerk’s international career has been on an upward curve and the seamer once again impressed everyone with her ability to bowl at the stumps, use change ups and off-cutters. Coming in as the third pacer, de Klerk restricted the Ireland batters in her opening spell that read 4-1-10-1. She got one to just go away from Delaney only for the right-hander to nick it behind the stumps.

The 22-year-old then came to break the big partnership between Lewis and Sophie MacMahon in the 34th over. To round off her day, de Klerk took on the death bowling duty in the absence of Khaka – who went off the field at the backend of the innings – to finish with impressive figures of 2 for 31 from her ten overs.

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Wayward spinners

With the pacers setting up the bowling innings, it was up to the South Africa spinners to pile the pressure on the batters. However, their inexperience showed with Raisibe Ntozakhe and Delmi Tucker bowling waywardly. The duo gave away lot of extras, provided width to the batters and bowled a few full tosses as well in the process.

Despite Ntozakhe dismissing Mary Waldron to leave Ireland reeling at 30 for 3, it was the spinners that let Ireland off the hook.

Leader Lewis to the fore once again

Lewis was given the tough task of leading a depleted Ireland side against South Africa at the start of the series. And the 21-year-old has responded admirably to the challenges despite only one result going their way. She was patient from the start and willed herself to see off Ismail and Khaka and she didn’t panic when only 17 runs came from the first ten overs.

The elegant right-hander hit her first boundary with a trademark cover-drive in the tenth over bowled by de Klerk and gained confidence as the innings went on. She took on the spinners when they erred with line and length hitting them for boundaries through the off-side. Lewis also picked up Ismail through fine-leg for another four.

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Tale of a few partnerships

From 30 for 3, Lewis found a partner in Sarah Forbes to take the score to 66 even as the latter didn’t contribute much with her own bat. The Irish skipper didn’t let the run out of Forbes affect her batting and she had good company in the impressive MacMahon. While Lewis was her classy self, MacMahon with her unorthodox technique took on South Africa bowlers and started with a boundary each off Sune Luus and Khaka.

South Africa looked a bit ragged in the field as the duo settled in during their stand of 69. Lewis brought up her fourth ODI fifty from 70 balls in the 28th over and Ireland were looking for a big score when Luus and de Klerk struck in quick succession to remove both the set batters.

But Ireland weren’t willing to give up meekly. And they found another hero in young Georgina Dempsey. The 17-year-old was inventive in her stroke play and ran hard between the wickets to show her athleticism. She wasn’t afraid to take on even Ismail and added 52 runs in the company of Arlene Kelly.

Despite hitting only two boundaries, Dempsey struck at more than 80 strike rate and remained unbeaten on 45 off 54 balls as Ireland ended their 50 overs with the score reading 213 for 8.

For South Africa, Ismail was the most successful bowler with figures of 3 for 31, while de Klerk picked up two.

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Quick fire opening stand and impressive Dempsey

South Africa openers Steyn and Laura Wolvaardt started aggressively with Steyn hitting the second ball of the innings for a four. Wolvaardt began with her trademark drives and South Africa were running away with it 42 runs on the board in the first five overs.

17-year-old Dempsey continued to impress everyone and almost had Wolvaardt with the third ball she bowled. Waldron couldn’t hold on to an edge, but the pacer had the last laugh when she dismissed Wolvaardt for the second time in as many matches. Wolvaardt chipped an incoming delivery to Paul at short mid-wicket.

However, South Africa openers already added 52 in 8.3 overs to give them a good start. Dempsey continued her good spell, but unfortunately for her, Goodall also was dropped early of her bowling.

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Good old partnership

Steyn and Goodall looked comfortable for most part of the chase once Dempsey went out of the attack. Goodall was the aggressor in the partnership as the southpaw continued her good form in the tour so far. She started with a boundary off Dempsey and then never looked back.

With Steyn holding firm at one end, Goodall took on Ireland spinners as well as pacers. When Dempsey came back for another spell, Goodall hit a couple of boundaries and reached her fifty from 53 balls. Steyn looked less fluent and eventually she also joined Goodall with her fifty. The duo brought up their century stand from 129 balls to keep South Africa firmly in the driving seat.

Post their fifties, Steyn and Goodall continued to go for their shots and matched each other for stroke-to-stroke. The duo eventually finished with a 165-run stand as Goodall hit the winning run with an edge off Dempsey through third.

Brief Scores: Ireland 213/8 in 50 overs (Gaby Lewis 59, Georgina Dempsey 45*, Sophie MacMahon 42; Shabnim Ismail 3/31, Nadine de Klerk 2/31) lost to South Africa 217/1 in 38.4 overs (Lara Goodall 93*, Andrie Steyn 84*) by 9 wickets