Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Shabnim Ismail bowls her way into the record books Down Under

The night before Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) final, fiery South African fast bowler Shabnim Ismail lay awake pondering how to take the prized wicket of Aussie gun batter, Meg Lanning.

Twenty-four hours later, Ismail was the toast of her Sydney Thunder team, as they upset the favourites, Melbourne Stars, bowling them out for one of the lowest totals of the tournament, and chasing down the required 87 runs in 14 overs to win their second WBBL title.

In a dream finish, a beaming Ismail stood on the winners’ podium, the first South African to win the player of the match award in the final. In fact, she is the first overseas player — male or female — to achieve this milestone in Australia’s Big Bash League. 

They always say: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish”

In a furious opening spell of four overs, Ismail turned it on for the Thunder. After Lanning was dropped off the final ball of the first over, the Proteas speedster accounted for the potent Elyse Villani in her second over, and went on to land the perfect delivery to dismiss Lanning with her first delivery of her final over.

Speaking to gsport a day later, Ismail was surprised to hear that her match-winning performance was one for the record books. 

“[I] never really thought about it as ‘making history’, but it’s a flippen’ good feeling! [I’m] really happy to have contributed to the team’s winning performance,” she said.

The season didn’t start well for the diminutive powerhouse. “To be honest, it was very hard in the first three games,” she said. “I felt like I had no rhythm and I just couldn’t get any wickets. It was very frustrating for me. I felt I was letting the team down. I then had a chat with the captain, Rachael Haynes. She said I should stop being dramatic; that it will take time, as I haven’t played any cricket in the last six months.”

Ismail settled things with a slight change to her game plan, which boosted her performance: “This season I bowled much tighter lines than last year, which paid off for me — I didn’t need to change much.”

With her captain’s backing, Ismail found her rhythm and improved as the tournament gained momentum. “They always say: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”

This year, Ismail was joined in Australia by South African teammates, Laura Wolvaardt, Chloe Tryon, Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp and captain, Dané van Niekerk for the WBBL’s sixth season. “I think they were fantastic, it’s really good to see their skills improving, and it’s a positive for us as the Momentum Proteas. 

“Hopefully we can get more players playing next year; it’s great exposure, experience and it helps a lot of players grow their game.”

Ismail is not resting on her laurels, but aims to keep pushing the boundaries. “I want to keep striving to be better all the time, and keep ticking those goal boxes,” she said.

This article is part of a collaboration between the M&G and gsport, a platform dedicated to journalism about women in sport 

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Celine Abrahams
Celine Abrahams is the newsroom and social media manager at gsport.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

SANDF’s ‘dignity’ comes with a R200mn price tag

Find out about the SANDF’s new uniform, which is costing taxpayers close to R200-million, while mission-critical equipment is not maintained

Q&A Sessions: From sangomas to the world’s biggest stages, John...

His father took him to isangoma when he wanted to be an actor. Today Dr John Kani is revered the world over. He tells Athandiwe Saba about his passions

More top stories

Warring ANC factions united in questioning SAA deal

Four unhappy high-ranking party members say the SAA sale was never discussed at the NEC

Ice skating champion shows off the Cape Flats talent at...

A young ice-skating champion has beaten the odds and brought home a national gold medal

Study finds too much salt can damage immune cell function

The study investigated how sodium intake affects human cells by giving participants 6g of salt in tablet form each day for 14 days, while they continued with their normal diets.

New plan to tackle marine pollution

The environment department’s Source-to-Sea initiative will create 1 600 work opportunities
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×