South Africa Women v West Indies Women, 3rd T20, Cape Town March 9, 2016

South Africa women clinch thriller to take series 2-1

South Africa Women 119 for 3 (Lee 33*) beat West Indies Women 115 for 8 by four runs
Scorecard

Lizelle Lee helped South Africa over 100 and in the end it proved enough (file photo) © Getty Images

South Africa staged a sensational comeback in defence of a below-par total to claim a first T20 series win over West Indies and sound a warning ahead of the World T20. South Africa's victory came less than three weeks after they beat England for the first time in a T20 and illustrated the progress the team has made since September 2014, when they were beaten 4-0 by England.

West Indies, who have not lost a series in the same period of time, will be disappointed with their failure to complete a straightforward chase, especially as they were well on course. They had reached 81 for 3 in the 15th over and even though their captain Stafanie Taylor had been bowled around her legs by Dane van Niekerk, they had their other stalwart Deandra Dottin on hand.

Dottin seemed to be striking the ball better than any of her team-mates but when she attempted a loft over long-on, she mistimed to spark a collapse. South Africa took four more wickets in the next 18 balls and then squeezed at the end to pull off a remarkable win.

On a slow pitch, run-scoring was tricky for both sides but South Africa would have felt they were at least 20 runs short at the halfway stage, especially because they had so many wickets in hand. They recovered from an early blow when Shamilia Connell had Trisha Chetty caught at slip and rebuilt cautiously through van Niekerk was joined and Mignon du Preez.

The pair found the boundary just five times but rotated strike well to score at more than a run-a-ball and put on 48 for the second wicket. When van Niekerk was bowled as she tried to slog sweep Taylor over midwicket, and with the run-rate stagnating, du Preez took it on herself to try and force the pace. She managed only to gift a catch to short midwicket.

Marizanne Kapp and Lizelle Lee also found it heavy going but with South Africa yet to reach 100 and only two overs left, they took some risks. Lee was the only batsman to clear the boundary and her efforts at the end gave South Africa something to defend but when West Indies knocked off the first 14 runs inside two overs, they would not have expected to be successful.

Moseline Daniels had Kycia Knight trapped lbw to provide some early hope but that only brought Taylor to the crease. She tried to end matters quickly with her aggressive approach and when she was bowled, Dottin took over. It was only when Dottin was caught that South Africa fought back.

Kyshona Knight departed soon after Dottin, sharp fielding resulted in the run-outs of Shermaine Campbell and Shaquana Quintyne and Shabnim Ismail took a good catch off her own bowling to give South Africa belief. Daniels and Ismail bowled tightly at the end and South Africa's fielders were on high alert to deny West Indies.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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