Saarah Smith and Masabata Klaas scrambled a near suicidal single off the penultimate ball of the match as South Africa stunned West Indies by three wickets to win the final Twenty20 International and steal a 2-2 draw in the five-match series here Saturday night.
Chasing a difficult 156 for victory at the Brian Lara Stadium, the South Africans got 42 from opener Lizelle Lee; 31 from Chloe Tryon and 25 from Mignon du Preez, to enter the last over of the contest requiring three runs for the series-tying win.
Marizanne Kapp (18) steered the first ball from speedster Shamilia Connell to short third man for a single before Smith (two not out) was held scoreless from the second ball.
However, Smith then swung the third delivery to wide mid on to level the scores but more drama ensued when Kapp holed out to a straightish mid on, leaving South Africa still needing one run from the last two deliveries of the match.
Smith, though, held her nerve and drilled the next delivery straight to mid-off, setting off for a sharp single as the fielder missed a direct hit at the non-striker’s end that would have left her short of her ground.
The result was a disappointing one for West Indies especially after they led the series 2-0, following wins in the opening two games.
They looked to be safe bets to complete the series win when opener Hayley Matthews top-scored with 70 from 52 balls to get them up to 155 for five off their 20 overs, after they had been sent in.
She struck eight fours and three sixes and added 42 for the first wicket with the in-form Natasha McLean who made 23 off 33 deliveries.
When the Windies lost three quick wickets for 15 runs in the space of 15 balls, Matthews combined with Shemaine Campbelle (28) in a crucial 53-run fourth wicket stand which rebuilt the innings.
Campbelle hammered four fours in a 17-ball cameo before perishing in the 16th over but Matthews found an ally in former captain Merissa Aguilleira (14 not out) to put on a further 36 for the fifth wicket.
Matthews was out with three balls left in the innings, caught on the ropes at wide long on by Mignon du Preez off same Klass, aiming for her fourth six.
In reply, Lee ensured a solid start to South Africa’s run chase, posting 37 for the first wicket with Laura Wolvaardt whose 23 came from 13 balls and included three fours and a six, and a further 30 with Robyn Searle (14) for the second wicket.
Three wickets tumbled for 17 runs to leave South Africa wobbling on 84 for four in the 11th but they rallied through two key partnerships, anchored by Tryon.
Firstly, she added 31 off 22 balls for the fifth wicket with du Preez and then put on another 37 off 27 balls for the sixth wicket with Kapp.
Tryon faced 22 deliveries and struck one four and a couple of sixes – both coming at the start of the 17th over from off-spinner Anisa Mohammed which leaked 19 runs all told, and gave the Proteas the edge.