A fighting knock of 40 from skipper Merissa Aguilleira was the only sparkle as West Indies suffered a batting collapse and lost to South Africa by 80 runs in the first of their five match One-day International series at Warner Park, St Kitts yesterday.
Aguilleira cracked seven fours in her gutsy innings, facing 43 balls, to lead a Windies fight back as the home side sputtered to 126 all out in 35 overs chasing the visitors 206 for eight off 50 overs.
The collapse began without a run on the board after losing the prized scalp of Stafanie Taylor for a duck to Marizanne Kapp, the slow medium bowler. Kapp, who finished with two wickets for 17 runs, made early inroads by also removing frontline batter Juliana Nero for seven.
At one stage, Aguilleira's side were precariously placed at 24 for the loss three wickets, and her dogged efforts to spark a middle order recovery were futile.
Apart from Deandra Dottin who scored 26, Kycia Knight 19) and Shanel Daley (14), no other West Indian got into double figures.
Van Niekerk, a 19-year-old leg-spinner, was a thorn in the side of the middle order, snapping up wickets and cleaning up the tail enders as well.
She bagged five for 28, including the important wickets of Dottin and Shemaine Campbell.
Earlier, powerful top order batting, including a half century from opener Trisha Chetty, helped set up a challenging South African total of 206. Chetty topscored with 57, which included five boundaries, while Mignon du Preez scored 48, and Shandré Fritz 24.
The leading West Indian bowlers were Shaquana Quintyne (two for 30), Shanel Daley (2 for 33).
West Indies and South Africa meet in the second ODI tomorrow at Warner Park.
South Africa women 206/8 off 50 overs (Shande Fritz 24, Trisha Chetty 57, Mignon du Preez 48; Shanel Daley 2/32, Shaquana Quintyne 2/30) vs West Indies women 126 all out off 35.3 overs (Deandra Dottin 26, Merissa Aguilleira 40, Kycia Knight 19; Dane van Niekerk 5/28, Marizanne Kapp 2/17, Susan Benade 2/30)
South Africa won by 80 runs. –CMC