A clinical fielding and bowling performance by the West Indies saw South Africa lose their second match out of three at Galle International Stadium on Sunday. Their 10-wicket loss sees the team exit the running for the semi-finals in the ICC Women's World T20 Sri Lanka 2012.
It was a bad day at the office. Merissa Aguilleira won the toss and asked South Africa to bat first. Wickets began to fall at the start of the third over and continued to tumble. Marizanne Kapp was put in to open the batting with Trisha Chetty. The latter was stumped by her counterpart for two off five balls. Kapp (3) was dismissed two balls later when ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year, Stefanie Taylor, was sent in to come for her. Two balls after that, Talor struck again, removing the formidable Susan Benade for two. South Africa lost three wickets for just two runs, laying the pressure squarely on the middle order.
"The batting let us down a lot today. We spoke about losing wickets in clusters but it happened again and made for a disappointing match," captain Mignon du Preez said. "We're very sad that this is the end for us and there will be no semi-final match. We started panicking when things didn't go our way and that is something we need to work on in future."
No one was allowed the opportunity to rebuild the innings as the Windies kept the pressure up. Du Preez was quickly dispatched for a duck, trapped lbw after she was defeated by a ball from Taylor at the start of the sixth over. Shandré Fritz followed after facing seven balls for no run. Alison Hodgkinson tried to put up a fight but was not allowed any breathing room as the clouds gathered overhead, warning of imminent showers. She was dismissed for 6 off 29 balls in the middle of the 10th over. South Africa were 20/6 after 11 overs when the rain began to pour in ernest, calling a brief halt to proceedings.
It was a break they desperately needed because as soon as play started, Dané van Niekerk and Shabnim Ismail came in and batted with a vengence. They scored 46 runs from 9.5 overs before Ismail was run out for 16, three balls into the final over. Van Niekerk (29) tried to push for more runs but was ultimately run out off the final ball of the innings.
South Africa ended their innings with 70/8.
The Windies were ready. They made quick work of the chase with Taylor (33) and Juliana Nero (30) rotating the strike and making use of every opportunity to win the match with 62 balls to spare.
A bitterly let down coach, Yashin Ebrahim-Hassen said: "I'm very disappointed in our performance today. A lot of hard work and sacrifice has come to nothing. We froze on the big stage after playing good cricket in the last two matches. It just goes to show how the lack of quality international competition is impacting on the side. Having said that, Dané (van Niekerk) and Shabnim (Ismail) played a brilliant knock."
On a positive note, Ebrahim-Hassen admits that his side has grown exponentially but they need more match experience in order for them to be able to handle difficult match situations.
"There has been a lot of individual growth and growth by the team as a whole. They have come a long way from where we started and most of it due to the camps that were held during the course of the past nine months. Imagine how much more growth we would see if they played more international cricket."
South Africa await the results of today's New Zealand/Sri Lanka match and tomorrow's England/Australia match to find out whether they will take part in the fifth and sixth place play-offs or the seventh and eighth place play-offs on Wednesday.