Shabnim Ismail has been the talk of the town for a few years now. In the recently concluded Pakistan tour of South Africa, she delivered a standout performance to elicit plaudits from all over the cricketing world.
South African coach Hilton Moreeng waxes eloquent like a proud parent, calling the fast bowler a great ambassador to the country.
“She is a star performer. I’ve always highlighted that we’ve been blessed to have her as a cricketer in the country, the skills she has and the experience that she has shown. When the chips were down, she was one of those who would run to the youngsters and give ideas and make sure the team goes in the right direction.”
Ismail’s wizardry with the ball saw the Proteas whitewash the ODI series 3-0 and win 2-1 in the T20I. The ODI series saw Shabnim become just the 5th South African woman to play 100 ODIs while in the T20Is she became only the 4th woman to scalp 100 wickets. The second T20 was where Shabnim registered her career-best figures of 5-12. She ended the series with 14 wickets, taking 7 wickets apiece in the limited-overs.
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Owing to her brilliant performance in the 20-over games, Ismail is now ranked second in the ICC Women’s T20 rankings. She replaced Australia’s Megan Schutt and is just 13 points from the numero uno position – a spot which is currently held by England’s Sophie Ecclestone.
This successful tour, though, hasn’t come overnight. Ismail has had to work for it and put in the hard yards. She had a busy summer playing for Sydney Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash League where she became the first South African to win the Player of the Match award in the finals for her match-winning figures of 2-12 in four overs.
Moreeng says, “All the rewards she is getting now is well deserved because of the hard work she has put in. She’s been very patient and has been taking each game in her stride. She did well in the Big Bash and those performances rubbed off to this tour for us. We are blessed to have her in the team and we wish her many more years.”
Following her stellar performance last month, Shabnim has been nominated for the ICC Player of the Month award along with compatriot Marizanne Kapp and Pakistan’s Diana Baig.
Source – News24
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