Australia have been stunned by South Africa for a second time in as many weeks, with five dropped catches and a disastrous batting collapse costing the hosts during a rain-affected WODI loss.
Four days after an elbow injury forced her to retire hurt in the series opener, Marizanne Kapp starred with bat and ball to help the Proteas to their first-ever ODI defeat of Australia.
“This win shows a lot of fight and grit from the team and to do it on a tough wicket, it speaks volumes,” Kapp said.
Wednesday’s 84-run loss at North Sydney Oval, where Australia had not lost an ODI since 2009, sends the three-match series to a decider at the same venue this Saturday.
“We’re obviously disappointed but we’ll reflect on that and take some good learnings into the last game,” said Australian fast bowler Kim Garth.
Playing with hamstring tightness, Ash Gardner (35) partnered with Garth (42no) on a rescue mission that gave the hosts hope, after they fell to 8-71 chasing a DRS-adjusted 234 for victory.
But not even the allrounders’ 77-run partnership – the highest ninth-wicket stand in WODI history – could pull Australia back from their disastrous start with the bat.
When Megan Schutt (1) was trapped lbw in the 30th over of the match, condensed to 45 overs apiece by rain, the Proteas had bundled the hosts out for 149.
Dropped twice, Kapp (75) made the Australians pay for their sloppy fielding on her way to a second half-century from two starts this ODI series.
Kapp hoisted the Proteas to 6-229 after they managed just 105 in the first ODI of the series, having scored a surprise win in last month’s second T20I.
In the fifth over of Australia’s chase, Kapp (3-12) set a staggering batting collapse in motion by dispatching of captain Alyssa Healy (4) and Beth Mooney (0) in the space of three deliveries.
Swinging the ball with ease, Kapp breezed through middle stump to dismiss the talismanic Mooney, before she trapped Phoebe Litchfield (14) lbw as the young gun attempted a block.
The ICC’s top-ranked ODI side found themselves in strife at 3-34.
“We all know what ‘Kappy’ can do with the ball and she used the conditions beautifully tonight,” Garth said.
Kapp’s teammates soon joined in on the carnage with debutant quick Ayanda Hlubi (2-41) dismissing Ellyse Perry (2) caught behind as the veteran attempted to bat through a stomach bug.
Nadine de Klerk took 2-1 from her first over, first dispatching of Tahlia McGrath (22) – the only batter who had made a start at that point – caught behind.
When Alana King chipped de Klerk to point, Australia were 8-71 and appeared in danger of undercutting their lowest-ever total in an ODI – 77 – made in 1993 and 2004.
Gardner and Garth helped the hosts save face but the Proteas closed in on a famous win when Gardner clipped Eliz-Mari Marx (2-22) to wicketkeeper Sinalo Jafta.
Earlier, King dropped Kapp on 37 off her own bowling before Healy fumbled the veteran allrounder aground on 45 after Garth’s ball was edged right to her.
The pair of drops came after Perry missed Anneke Bosch on 1 in the deep, with the South African No.3 going on to revitalise the Proteas from 1-0 after three balls to add 43 to her score.
Wareham then dropped Sune Luus (19) to add to the Australians’ frustrations in slippery conditions.
Apparently immune to the catching woes, Annabel Sutherland caught both Bosch and Luus at long on from Gardner’s bowling (2-31) before they could build too much on their starts.
King came up with a second drop at short fine leg in the penultimate over, spilling Chloe Tryon (37no), who went on to add three more boundaries and bolster South Africa’s score.
“I don’t think we can really blame the weather conditions (for the dropped catches),” Garth said.
“That’s something we’ll reflect on and look to tidy up going into the final ODI.”