South Africa make history as star’s half-century secures first win ever over Australia


South Africa’s women have beaten Australia for the first time ever, claiming a six-wicket win in their T20 clash in Canberra.

Quality bowling on Sunday helped the Proteas hold the hosts to a below-par 6-142, a total they tracked down with six balls to spare thanks to captain Laura Wolvaardt’s unbeaten half-century.

Australia made scoring look tough at Manuka Oval, but South Africa’s openers quickly built the platform they needed to claim the historic win.

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Wolvaardt (58 not out) and Tazmin Brits (41) added 75 for the first wicket, the former still there to negotiate a potentially tricky final stanza after the tourists lost 3-22.

It was the 24th time the nations have met in women’s cricket – across ODIs and T20s – and the first time the Proteas have been victorious. A tied ODI in 2016 was the closest they had come previously.

Sunday’s result also squared the multi-format series after Australia won Saturday’s opening contest.

The definition of a captain’s knock, and one of Laura Wolvaardt’s most important fifties ???? #PlayoftheDay #AUSvSA @hcltech

— (@cricketcomau) January 28, 2024

Wolvaardt witnessed a mini-collapse when her side fell from 1-109 to 3-110 in the space of three balls, but steadied things and brought up her half-century to steer them to victory.

Brits, who carried her bat through Saturday’s innings in making 59 not out, continued to sizzle, cracking eight fours in another brilliant knock.

After winning the toss and batting, expectations were high for Australia after they had chased down 6-147 in Saturday’s contest without getting out of second gear.

But they struggled to find gaps or land big blows in a stuttering display, with captain Alyssa Healy (29 off 24 balls) and Grace Harris (31 not out off 18) the only players who looked comfortable at the crease.

Pace bowler Masabata Klaas was particularly dangerous, taking 2-16 from three overs, while spin duo Nonkululeko Mlaba and Chloe Tryon tied things down in the middle overs.

You wouldn’t believe it… Beth Mooney got two lives via dropped return catches on 0 and 10… then got run out by another drop! #AUSvSA

— (@cricketcomau) January 28, 2024

Such was the Proteas’ suffocating pressure that they held the hosts without a boundary for 29 balls in a crucial period between the 13th and 18th overs.

Tahlia McGrath struggled to score quickly for a second straight game, making 23 off 28 deliveries.

It was a similar story for Ellyse Perry (18 off 19 balls).

Harris hit three fours and a six in her unbeaten 31, with the Australians taking 18 runs off Khaka’s final over of the innings to give themselves something to defend.

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