Left-hander Kycia Knight struck her first One-Day International half-century in five-and-a-half years but Laura Wolvaardt’s third hundred in the format helped sink West Indies Women by 96 runs and set up a tantalising series finale on Sunday.
Asked to chase an imposing 300 in the third ODI under lights at the Wanderers after Wolvaardt had lashed a polished 117 in South Africa on Thursday, the luckless Caribbean side folded for 203 in the 45th over, despite Knight’s 69 off 94 deliveries.
West Indies Women were set back considerably by the loss of captain Stafanie Taylor who suffered a concussion after being struck on the helmet and being forced to retire hurt on 13, while Chedean Nation picked up an injury while fielding and never returned.
Seamer Shabnim Ismail tore through the middle and lower order to finish with four for 37 while new-ball partner Ayabonga Khaka (2-27) supported with her pace.
The victory for South Africa Women – their biggest ever against West Indies in terms of runs – levelled the four-match series at 1-1 after the first match was rained off and West Indies Women won the second courtesy of a dramatic super-over.
She added: “The spirits are still very high in the camp. We can still win the tournament come Sunday.”
Opting to bat first, South Africa Women were propelled to 299 for eight off their 50 overs by Wolvaardt, who stroked 11 fours and a six in a 123-ball knock.
After fast bowler Shamilia Connell (4-57) struck twice to reduce the home side to 40 for two in the seventh over, Wolvaardt anchored a 141-run, third wicket stand with captain Sune Luus (56) to rebuild the innings.
Luus counted five fours off 93 deliveries but was one of three wickets to fall for 38 runs along with Wolvaardt, as West Indies Women clawed their way back to leave the hosts on 219 for five in the 43rd over.
However, Chloe Tryon belted a cameo 24-ball 43 with two fours and three sixes in a 75-run sixth wicket partnership with Nadine de Klerk (22), to regain the initiative at the back end.
In reply, Rahada Williams (1) notched her third successive single digit score of the series when she edged a drive low to Luus at slip off Khaka in the second over with four runs on the board.
And when the in-form Deandra Dottin drove the same bowler firmly to short mid-wicket to fall for 12, two overs later, West Indies Women were in trouble at 14 for two.
Knight, with one previous fifty to her name in ODIs, then set about repairing the damage in a crucial 72-run, third wicket stand – first with Taylor – and then with Hayley Matthews (15), before adding a further 55 for the fifth wicket with Shemaine Campbelle (16).
Dropped on 15 at cover in the ninth over, Knight composed herself to reach her landmark off 73 balls with a four in the 25th over off de Klerk.
Taylor, meanwhile, was forced off in the 14th over with the score on 52 for two after being struck by a looping short ball from Nadine de Klerk in the previous over. She was replaced by concussion substitute Aaliyah Alleyne.
Matthews followed in the 21st, bowled playing back to one from Ismail that nipped back sharply, and Campbelle was caught and bowled by leg-spinner Chloe Tryon in the 33rd.
Knight’s dismissal – holing out in the deep in the 32nd over – triggered the final slide as West Indies Women lost their next six wickets for 62 runs.
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