BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC):
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 here yesterday.
Aguilleira cracked seven fours in her gutsy innings, facing 43 balls, to lead a Windies fightback, as the home side spluttered 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 front-line batter Juliana Nero for seven. At one stage, Aguilleira's side was precariously placed at 24 for the loss of 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 batter got into double figures.
Nineteen-year-old leg-break bowler Van Niekerk was a thorn in the side of the middle order, snapping up wickets and cleaning up the tail-enders as well. Niekerk bagged five for 28 runs, 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 top-scored with 57, which included five boundaries, while Mignon du Preez scored 48 and Shandré Fritz, 24. The leading West Indian bowlers were Shaquana Quintyne, 2-30, and Daley, 2-33.
West Indies and South Africa women meet in the second one-day international tomorrow at Warner Park.