Ismail, van Niekerk help SA defend 125
South Africa Women 125 for 6 (Lee 35, Anisa 2-23) beat West Indies Women 114 for 6 (Dottin 40, Ismail 3-12) by 11 runs
Shabnim Ismail's three wickets in seven balls and Dane van Niekerk's two in an over helped South Africa Women defend 125, which seemed a sub-par total, and claim their first-ever Twenty20 win over West Indies Women. South Africa's victory, which comes two weeks after they achieved the same feat over England, bodes well ahead of the World T20.
On a slow, spin-friendly surface in Durban, West Indies restricted South Africa and would have fancied their chances of taking the early honours, but the hosts' attack was up to the task. Ismail was instrumental in reducing West Indies to 16 for 4, before Deandra Dottin and Stacy-Ann King put them back on track. They shared a fifth-wicket stand of 72 but van Niekerk removed them both to take South Africa to a historic win.
Ismail set the tone with an early strangle. She gave away just two runs in her first over against a watchful West Indies opening pair. Moseline Daniels, her opening partner, was more generous and pitched the ball up, but Ismail showed the way with the short balls. She had Stafanie Taylor caught at midwicket, attemping a pull, and followed it up with a fuller one, inducing an edge from Hayley Matthews, who was caught behind. Ismail stuck to the fuller length for the hat-trick ball, but it was defended.
Ismail could not stay out of action. She took a catch at mid-on off debutant Odine Kirsten to send Kyshona Knight on her way before returning to dismiss Kycia Knight. South Africa would have already sensed an improbable victory at that stage, but had Dottin to deal with.
Dottin took a liking to Kirsten and was strong down the ground as she started to claw West Indies back. She found an able partner in King, who was circumspect up front, and then began to pierce the gaps and threatened to take the game away.
The pair took West Indies to within 38 runs of victory before van Niekerk struck. She broke through King's defence to give South Africa some hope. Dottin holed out at the end of the over, and then all South Africa had to do was contain.
Shemaine Campbelle and Shaquana Quintyne kept West Indies in the hunt by finding the fence in each of the last three overs, but left themselves too much to do. They needed 20 off the last over, but Ismail conceded just eight runs to seal the win.
West Indies were disappointed after they dragged South Africa back from 39 without loss in the first five overs. Van Niekerk and Trisha Chetty took advantage of some loose bowling early on, but Anisa Mohammed ended their charge. She removed the openers in her first over, forcing them to rebuild.
Three boundary-less overs followed and South Africa lost their captain Mignon du Preez to reach the halfway stage at 59 for 3.
Lizelle Lee sensed the urgency to accelerate and opted to take on the spinners. She shared a stand of 48 runs, the highest of the innings, for the fourth wicket with Marizanne Kapp and set South Africa up for a strong finish. But she did not stick around to do it herself and was dismissed in the 16th over. South Africa lost three wickets for 24 at the death to finish with a total they may not have been confident of defending, but eventually did.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent