Australia were caught off guard by South Africa for the second time in as many weeks, with five dropped catches and a catastrophic collapse in the batting line-up lost to the hosts during a rain-affected women’s day defeat.
Four days after an elbow injury forced her to retire due to injury in the series opener, Marizanne Kapp played with bat and ball to help the Proteas to their first ODI win against Australia.
Wednesday night’s 84-run defeat at North Sydney Oval, where Australia had not lost an ODI since 2009, gives the three-match series a decider at the same venue this Saturday.
Ash Gardner (35), struggling with a hamstring strain, along with Kim Garth (42, not out), performed a rescue mission that gave the hosts hope after falling behind to 71-8 and a DRS-adjusted score of 234 to victory.
But not even the all-rounders’ 77-run partnership – the highest ninth wicket partnership in WODI history – could dissuade Australia from their disastrous start with the bat as they were bowled out for 149.
When Megan Schutt (1) was caught left-handed in the 30th over of the match, which had been shortened to 45 overs each by rain, the Proteas were home.
Kapp (75) fell twice and made the Australians pay for their sloppy fielding on their way to the second half century from two starts in this ODI series.
Kapp took the hosts to 6-229 at the end of 45 overs with the Proteas, who won the second of three T20Is last month, managing just 105 from 50 overs in the first ODI.
In the fifth over of Australia’s chase, Kapp (3-12) unleashed a stunning batting collapse, removing captain Alyssa Healy (4) and Beth Mooney (0) within three tosses.
Kapp swung the ball with ease and burst through center stump to deny the talismanic Mooney before intercepting Phoebe Litchfield (14) on the left wing as the young shooter attempted a block.
The ICC’s top-ranked ODI side was in a strife at 3-34.
Kapp’s teammates soon joined the fray as speedy debutant Ayanda Hlubi (2-41) sent off Ellyse Perry, who had fallen two goals behind as the veteran tried to fight through a gastrointestinal illness defend.
Hlubi had a second ODI wicket when Georgia Wareham bowled and was the second of three Australians to be left scoreless.
Nadine de Klerk took two wickets for just one run in her first over, sending Tahlia McGrath (22) – the only batter to have made a start at the time – to the chase.
When Alana King took de Klerk to point, Australia were at 8-71 and looked in danger of bettering their lowest ever total in an ODI (77) set in 1993 and 2004.
Gardner and Garth helped the hosts save face and were ably assisted by the Proteas’ decision to push the dangerous Kapp out of the attack.
But the Proteas moved closer to a famous win when Gardner hit Eliz-Mari Marx (2-22) off wicketkeeper Sinalo Jafta.
Earlier, King dropped Kapp on 37 off her own bowling before Healy fumbled the experienced all-rounder aground on 45 after Kim Garth’s ball flew straight past her.
The two drops came after Perry missed Anneke Bosch in the deep for 1, with the South African No.3 bringing the Proteas back to 1-0 after three balls and taking their score to 43.
Wareham then dropped Sune Luus (19), adding to the Aussies’ frustration with the slippery conditions.
Seemingly immune to the catching difficulties, Annabel Sutherland caught both Bosch and Luus at long distance off of Gardner’s bowling (2-31) before they could build on their starts too much.
King managed a second drop at short fine leg in the penultimate over, beating Chloe Tryon (37), who added three more boundaries and improved South Africa’s score.