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South Africa 185 for 6 (du Preez 65*, Brits 30, Mohammed 2-26) beat West Indies 150 for 9 (Williams 42, van Niekerk 3-23) by 35 runs
After West Indies put the visitors in to bat, South Africa lost wickets intermittently, with none of the batters other than du Preez crossing 30. Opener Laura Wolvaardt departed in the second over the match as pacer Aaliyah Alleyne had her caught. One-down Lara Goodall was the next to fall, offspinner Hayley Matthews bowling her in the 13th over. Opener Tazmin Brits and No. 4 van Niekerk made 30 and 20 respectively, but regular strikes from the hosts meant the tourists were 88 for 4 inside 26.5 overs at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, in North Sound, Antigua.
Du Preez's arrival at No. 5 meant South Africa began a slow, but effective, rebuild as the experienced batter, playing her first international innings since the tour of India in March, struck five fours in a 91-ball stay. She was involved in three partnerships of 30 runs or more - with van Niekerk, Chloe Tryon and wicketkeeper Sinalo Jafta, whose unbeaten 46-ball 28 at No. 8 came in an unbroken 63-run stand. du Preez and Jafta added 36 to South Africa's tally in the last five overs.
Four West Indies bowlers picked a wicket apiece, debutant Cherry-Ann Fraser included, with captain Anisa Mohammed the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 26 from her 10 overs. From the outset, though, the 186 target posed a challenge, for West Indies - set to feature in the ODI World Cup Qualifiers in November-December - who had been unable to cross 160 in the previous three ODIs. Besides, they were yet to chase in the series. On Thursday, their batting unit did little to counter the trend.
Opener Rashada Williams' 90-ball 42 was followed up by 22, 14, and 15 from Deandra Dottin, Matthews and Kycia Knight at Nos. 4, 5, and 6. No other batter got into double digits. Five of the six bowlers South Africa deployed took at least one wicket each, with Masbata Klaas returning the best figures among the quicks with 10-2-25-2 and wristspinner van Niekerk taking the overall honours. Van Niekerk, the captain, dismissed Dottin, Mohammed, and Fraser, and played a part in Williams' run-out in the 39th over as the hosts eventually fell 36 runs short in their pursuit.
"Honestly we just went wrong with the bat, again we lost two wickets in the powerplay," right-arm pacer Shakera Selman told CWI Media after the match. "We've spoken a lot about that [but] we still managed to do it again today, which gave South Africa the upper hand when they were bowling, but I still thought that we should have made that 186.
"At this stage perhaps it's mental because we've done all the preparations that we could possibly do. The coaches have prepared us well, they've worked really hard with us, unfortunately we just aren't executing. So we just have to show up bat properly."
The teams return to the same venue on September 19 for the fifth - and final - ODI.
Mignon du Preez, Dane van Niekerk help South Africa go 4-0 up against West Indies
Chasing 186, West Indies fell short by 36 runs in the penultimate ODI of the five-match series