SOUTH Africa's women's cricket team came within a whisker of creating history in Coffs Harbour.

The Proteas have never beaten Australia before but in the fourth One Day International of the series, they came as close as you possibly can to winning without actually doing so.

The South Africans levelled the scores on the second last delivery of the day/night fixture at C.ex Coffs International Stadium but couldn't score the winning run off the final ball of the match.

The Proteas needed five runs to win with only two balls remaining but when tailender Masabatha Klaas smashed a boundary past mid-off, it looked like a cricketing miracle was about to occur.

Only a couple of hours earlier South Africa slumped to be 4-40 at the start of the 12th over and looking no chance of chasing down the Australian total of 242.

Captain Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp steadied the ship for the Proteas with a century partnership.

When Kapp was sensationally run out by by Elise Villani after her batting partner smacked one backed to the bowler, a strong run chase still needed another 59 runs off 50 balls.

In a player of the match performance van Niekerk started finding the boundary but when she was dismissed for a fine 81, the Proteas were in a winning position with the required run rate now below a run a ball.

A couple of quick wickets and suddenly it was the Southern Stars with a grip on the contest but the final pairing of Klaas and Dinesha Devnarain refused to go down without a fight, pushing the result right to the very edge.

If this match is a preview of Tuesday's encounter, there's sure to be a larger crowd than the 1,000 local cricket fans who made their way to the Stadium throughout this thrilling encounter.



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