Nkomo does it again but Zimbabwe Women fall short once more

South Africa Emerging Women – 242-7 in 50 overs (Delmi Tucker 65, Masabata Klaas 59*, Anneke Bosch 41; Nomvelo Sibanda 4/57, Loryn Phiri 2/23, Precious Marange 1/14). Zimbabwe Women – 163-8 in 50 overs (Josephine Nkomo 63*, Modester Mupachikwa 35, Christabel Chatonzwa 19; Michaela Andrews 3/35, Delmi Tucker 2/14, Leah Jones 2/15). South Africa Emerging Women won by 79 runs

Josephine Nkomo scored her third half-century in as many games but once again her brilliant effort could not make any difference Zimbabwe Women suffered a 79-run defeat at the hands of South Africa Emerging Women at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Saturday.

The victory means the tourists have sealed the five-match one-day series with two games to go. On winning the toss once more, the South African side again opted to bat first, but their opening pair of captain Andrie Steyn and Tazmin Brits – who struck up a stand of 129 in the second one-dayer on Thursday – this time round failed to fire.

Nomvelo Sibanda claimed both of the prized wickets, first getting Brits caught at the wicket for six before she trapped Steyn lbw for 14, in the process reducing the visitors to 23 for two in the fifth over.

Anneke Bosch lifted South Africa Emerging Women to 84 before she became the third scalp to fall after she was bowled by Loryn Phiri for 41, with seven boundaries, off 42 deliveries.

Four overs later and with only five more runs added to the total, Phiri struck again, as she had Annerie Dercksen, who had laboured to 19 off 52 balls without a single boundary, caught by Nkomo.

In the 25th over, they were reeling at 97 for five after Precious Marange took the wicket of Tebogo Macheke for six, with the wicketkeeper Chiedza Dhururu completing her second dismissal of the match behind the stumps.

After Sibanda bowled Leah Jones for eight, the South Africans were definitely now under the pump at 118 for six in the 31st over. However, Delmi Tucker and Masabata Klaas breathed life back into their faltering innings with a partnership worth 111 runs for the seventh wicket that took them to 229, with only nine deliveries to go.

The stand was finally broken by none other than Sibanda, who bagged her fourth wicket after bowling Tucker for a well-crafted 65, with six fours, which came off 76 balls.

Klaas finished unbeaten with 59 that included one six and two fours having faced 70 balls, with Michaela Andrews on the other end with six not out, as South Africa Emerging Women totalled 242 for seven off their 50 overs, a score that had looked very unlikely midway through their innings.

Sibanda’s haul of four wickets came at a cost of 57 runs off her 10 overs, while Phiri was very frugal in claiming two scalps for 23 off the same number of overs.

Zimbabwe Women’s response hinged on Modester Mupachikwa, who carried her bat to 95 in the second match, giving them a good start, She seemed unperturbed when she lost her opening partner Dhururu for 10, taking the team past fifty together with Christabel Chatonzwa.

The hosts however suffered a major blow when Mupachikwa was dismissed for 35, with four boundaries and off 58 balls, reducing them to 54 for two in the 19th over.

After Chatonzwa was caught at the wicket for 19, Zimbabwe Women still had 21 overs and seven wickets in hand to get another 152 runs at 7.23 runs an over.

Nkomo could however not find a reliable partner as Marange (1), Nyasha Gwanzura (5), Phiri (6), Kellies Ndlovu (0) and Tasmeen Granger (0) were all sent back to the pavilion having chewed up a combined 39 deliveries for a total of 12 runs.

Although Zimbabwe Women did not lose another wicket after that, the chase continued getting steeper and, with 11 overs remaining, they needed 125 runs at 11.36 an over.

The visitors’ bowlers were nevertheless as miserly as they come, as the home side’s innings petered out at 163 for eight off their allotted 50 overs, giving South Africa Emerging Women victory by 79 runs.

Nkomo, who faced 92 deliveries, finished with an impressive 63 not out that included three boundaries, while Audrey Mazvishaya remained standing on the other end with six off 33 balls.

Andrews took three wickets, while there were two each for Tucker and Jones. The two sides will meet in the fourth one-dayer at the same venue on Monday.