Sixteen-year-old Shorna Akther grabbed a five-for to lead a brilliant turnaround by Bangladesh Women, edging South Africa on their own turf by 13 runs in the first Twenty20 clash in Benoni.
The Tigresses rode on Murshida Khatun’s patient 62-run knock to post 149 for 2 after electing to bat first at Willowmoore Park on Sunday.
In reply, South Africa eased to 68 for no loss in 9 overs but Shorna Akter led a superb comeback, with her side picking up eight wickets at the expense of 62 runs.
Defending 149, legspin-bowling allrounder Shorna picked up her maiden 5-wicket haul, triggering a middle-order collapse in the last five overs as South Africa slipped from 123 for 3 to 136 for 8.
This was only the second instance of Bangladesh outplaying South Africa in the 12 T20Is they have faced each other in.
South Africa had won the last 10 in a row. The Tigresses crushed them by 7 wickets in Mirpur in 2012.
The hosts were on course for the majority of the chase, thanks to Anneke Bosch. Promoted to open with Tazmin Brits, Bosch made a brisk 49-ball 67 balls, sharing a dogged 69-run stand with Brits, who scored 30 off 26 balls.
The hosts needed 41 off the last 24 balls with seven wickets in hand and Bosch still in the middle. But Shorna struck twice in the 18th over to turn the game on its head.
In the following over, Nahida Akter got rid of debutant Eliz-mari Marx as things boiled down to 24 off the last over.
However, Shorna spun up two more wickets in the last over to end South Africa’s hopes and end with figures of 5 for 28.
Earlier, Murshida’s unbeaten 62 and Nigar Sultana’s quickfire 34 off 21 not out lifted Bangladesh to a competitive total.
The pair plundered 45 off the last four overs which proved too much for South Africa at the end.
After losing Shamima Sultana for a run-a-ball 24 and Sobhana Mostary for 16, Bangladesh needed someone to hit the gas and Nigar stepped up.
Her knock consisted of six fours while Murshida, who played an anchor's role, hit six fours and a six in her 59-ball innings.
The final two T20Is will be played in Kimberley on Dec 6 and 8 before the three-match ODI series begins on Dec 16 in East London.