South Africa cruised to an 80 run victory over the West Indies in the first of five ODIs at Basseterre in St Kitts, thanks to some solid top order batting and five wickets from legspinner Dane van Niekerk (5-28).
Having won the toss the Proteas women made good headway against the opening WI pace attack with Shandre Fritz and Trisha Chetty looking comfortable and keeping the score ticking along. The introduction of the spinners put the brakes on slightly and Fritz was then needlessly run out turning for a second run that was never there, Deandra Dottin hitting the stumps from long range. But skipper Mignon du Preez then shared a stand of 69 with Chetty to take the score to 118 before Chetty was surprisingly bowled by Shanel Daley for a well-made 57. The South African innings then lost its way as Marizanne Kapp was caught, du Preez was caught and bowled by Staphanie Taylor for 48, Dottin claimed another good run out, and Cri-Zelda Brits holed out to the bowling of 17 year old Shaquana Quintyne. The Proteas were wobbling at 165 for 6 and they eventually limped to 206 for 8 from their 50 overs, which looked under par on a decent pitch.
But within 9 overs of their reply the West Indies had slipped to 24 for 3, losing Taylor, Juliana Nero and Daley to catches behind the stumps by Chetty, who had a fine day with the gloves as well as the bat. Had the Proteas held one of the two simple chances Deandra Dottin gave them early on then the game could have ended very early, but she survived to add 45 runs with her skipper Merissa Aguilleira, who adopted a typically cavalier West Indian attitude to the crisis. But those who live by the sword also perish by it, and just as it seemed the West Indies were getting back in the game Aguilleira aimed an ugly smear at Chloe Tryon and was caught. The responsibility for the West Indies' batting fell onto the shoulders of Dottin, but she too gave her wicket away to become one of van Niekerk's five victims. In her next over she had Shemaine Campbelle stumped all ends up. In the next she bowled a bemused Qunityne with a beauty; bowled Anisa Mohammed first ball as she tried to sweep and then completed her hat-trick with the first ball of her next over trapping Tremayne Smartt plumb in front. At 104 for 9 the West Indies were dead in the water and were eventually bowled out for 126 in the 36th over.
It was a decent performance from the Proteas, but the West Indies determination to play across the line, particularly to the leg-spinner proved their undoing. They will need to play straighter and with more self-discipline in the rest of this series if they are not to suffer further defeats. As for the bigger picture it seems unlikely that either England or Australia will suffer too many sleepless nights about facing either team in the World Cup in this form.
scorecard - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/588493.html