WATCH: Three times retiring Proteas legend Shabnim Ismail showed her class

Shabnim Ismail was the pick of the SA bowlers in the T20 World Cup final against Australia in February. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Shabnim Ismail was the pick of the SA bowlers in the T20 World Cup final against Australia in February. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 4, 2023


Gqeberha – Proteas women’s bowling icon Shabnim Ismail ended her glittering 16-year international career with an emotional statement on Wednesday.

She cited the need to spend more time with her family as among the chief reasons, but said she will also be playing in various T20 leagues around the globe.

IOL Sport’s Ongama Gcwabe picks three performances where Ismail showed her ability as a top-class fast bowler.

2/26 vs Australia in 2023 T20 World Cup final

If you would ask Ismail which moment she cherishes the most in her international career, she would probably refer to her last outing in the green and gold – the T20 World Cup final at Newlands.

She was pick of the bowlers in the South African attack with figures of 2/26 in four overs as she claimed the wickets of Ellyse Perry and Georgia Wareham, bowling the 20th over of Australia’s innings.

She conceded 10 runs in the first two deliveries of that over, but brought it back nicely in the end to grab two wickets and concede two more runs.

5/12 vs Pakistan in second T20 at Kingsmead in January 2021

Kingsmead has over the years become more conducive to spin than fast bowling, but on this day, Ismail got the ball talking through her trademark skills - shear pace and aggression.

Ismail claimed one of her two career T20 international five-wicket hauls and it was a special one to witness.

First up, Ismail set up Muneeba Ali beautifully with her away swing but was unlucky as Ali gloved one through the slip cordon for four.

The relentless nature of Ismail prevailed as she removed Ali with her very next ball and this time, the edge off Ali’s bat carried through to the wicket-keeper and Ismail was on the board.

The experience she had gathered at that point in her career worked in her favour as she bowled new batter Nida Dar for a golden duck and put herself in line for a hat-trick.

Three overs into her spell, the fast bowler had grabbed three wickets and left Pakistan in trouble on 20/4 after six overs still needing 113 runs to win.

When Ismail returned, Pakistan had crawled back into the contest courtesy of a 65-run partnership between captain Aliya Riaz and Ayesha Naseem.

Like she did on many occasions in her career, she broke the partnership to get her fourth wicket of the day and with the last ball of the match, she claimed her “five-for” to wrap up what was a player-of-the-match performance.

Fiery Spell vs Australia at St George’s Park in 2023 T20 World Cup

Despite going wicketless in the encounter, Ismail bowled one of the fastest spells in the history of the women’s game.

The Proteas had to win the match to make the semi-finals.

Earlier that day, England took on India, and the English spinners were dominant while the seamers did not get much purchase off the wicket.

When Ismail took the new ball, it was as if she was bowling on a different wicket. She constantly asked questions and beat batters for pace.

Australia had Megan Schultz in their bowling attack, but in that game, no other bowler came close to the speeds Ismail generated.

She constantly hit the high 120s (km/h) and made it difficult for the Australians to chase down what would have normally been an easy run chase for the world champions.


IOL Sport