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Shabnim Ismail was named Player of the Match after figures of 3/31 in 10 overs. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Shabnim Ismail was named Player of the Match after figures of 3/31 in 10 overs. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Fast bowler Shabnim Ismail is confident the SA women’s cricket team is on the right track before the 2022 World Cup after they clinched their first series win in the Caribbean.

The SA senior women were in imperious form again as they chased down 157 with 13.2 overs to spare to win by eight wickets and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series against hosts West Indies at St Johns in Antigua on Monday.

After two quiet days in the opening two ODIs, Ismail returned figures of 3/31 in her 10 overs and was named Player of the Match.

“Glad to be back and winning the series for the first time in the West Indies,” said the 32-year-old Cape Town-born Ismail, who was consistent with opening bowling partner Marizanne Kapp as they reduced the West Indies to 10/2 after the first six overs.

“It is always nice contributing to winning performances and obviously for myself coming back into the game taking three wickets is always nice.”

The win that wrapped up the series with two matches to spare came on the back of a brilliant bowling display from Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka (2/22), Sune Luus (2/25) and Kapp (1/30).

The consistent, relentless pressure by the SA bowling unit told as it led to two other wickets coming via run-outs.

Second half-century

SA then strolled to a simple chase with the opening pair of Lizelle Lee (78 runs off 120 balls) and Laura Wolvaardt (52 off 68) in their usual destructive mode.

It was Lee’s second half-century of the series after she smashed an unbeaten 91 in the opening ODI, and the 22nd of her career while Wolvaardt scored her 21st to set up an easy chase.

Despite a number of wickets falling towards the latter stages, the opening pair had done enough to lead the visitors to a comfortable series win.

“I can speak about us the bowlers. I think the way we sum up the game, it was not easy conditions to come out here and bowl the way we did so all credit goes to the bowlers,” said Ismail.

“And once again for the batters just coming in and having clinical performances again, Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt giving us that confidence booster and just the way they go about their game, it shows a lot out there and it just shows that we are here to do business.”

It is the team’s third consecutive ODI series win and second in succession on the road as they gear up for the World Cup in New Zealand in March and April 2022.

Coach Hilton Moreeng’s side whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in January and beat India 4-1 in a five-match series in Lucknow in March for their first series win in India.

“It boils down basically to our performances and I think the way we have been portraying ourselves on and off the field, it just shows that we are here to play cricket.

“Yes it is baby steps towards the World Cup but the way we are playing our cricket at the moment, it just shows that when we go to the World Cup I’m sure that we are going to give everyone a run for their money.”

The Proteas will be determined to sweep the ODI series 5-0 in the remaining two matches on September 16 and 19 at the Sir Viv Richards Cricket Ground.