South Africa seamer Masabata Klaas revelled in her hat-trick, which helped her team pull level in their three-match Women's Championship ODI series against Pakistan, crediting "hard work" for both her and the team's success.
"It's all because of my team-mates and the hard work we've put in," Klaas said. "It's nice. It's a mixture of emotions. It's the first hat-trick of my career, so it feels nice."
Having been bowled out for 63 in the first ODI, South Africa bounced back with an eight-wicket win that was set up by a remarkable burst of seam bowling led by Klaas. On a track that hadn't offered much to the quicks, Klaas' earlier spells gave no indication of the carnage that was to come, but her introduction in the 39th over brought an implosion in Pakistan's lower middle-order.
After Aliya Riaz sliced a slog to mid-on, Klaas found lift and shape outside the off stump to dismiss Umaima Sohail and Sidra Nawaz off the next two deliveries, both caught behind. When wicketkeeper Sinalo Jafta tumbled forward to cling on to a low, dipping chance that secured the hat-trick, Klaas charged down the wicket in celebration before she was mobbed by her team-mates. She became just the second South African - after Dane van Niekerk - to take a hat-trick in a women's ODI, and Pakistan quickly collapsed from 146 for 5 to 147 all out.
Klaas picked up the game as an 11-year-old in her home town of Botshabelo, 50km east of Bloemfontein, playing against boys until she reached provincial age-group cricket. A debut against Sri Lanka in 2010 followed, but Klaas stepped away from international cricket in 2013 to look after her daughter, who was born that year. For two years, she continued to play provincial cricket for Free State, finally forcing her way back into national colours against Pakistan in Sharjah in March 2015. She then earned a national contract and became a regular starter in the playing XI.
"She was actually feeling a bit under the weather this morning. But all of a sudden, after that hat-trick, she wasn't sick anymore." Laura Wolvaardt on Klaas
"I've been training hard," Klaas said. "I've been doing a lot of fitness and target bowling. I must say, at the end of the day hard work does pay off. It's a nice feeling.
"Before I came on this tour, I sat down and did my work. I said to myself, even if I get one Woman-of-the-Match trophy, that would be my goal. So, I achieved that, but there's still a lot of work to be done. To be honest, everyone went back to the drawing board [after the first game] and checked what we were lacking, and then everyone worked on where they needed to be. We played good cricket today. I can't wait for the next game. Everyone's in a good space."
Laura Wolvaardt, whose unbeaten 74 sealed South Africa's chase in the afternoon, revealed that Klaas had walked into the game feeling a bit unwell.
"That was so cool," Wolvaardt said. "She was actually feeling a bit under the weather this morning. But all of a sudden, after that hat-trick she wasn't sick anymore. She was sprinting around the field. So we laughed at her a bit for that.
"It's amazing to see her [take a hat-trick]. It's very well deserved. She's been bowling well for a long time and hasn't always got the rewards. I'm really proud of her. I'm really happy she got it."
Klaas' feat was all the more remarkable given that conditions at Senwes Park were actually not helpful for the seamers, with the ball coming on to the bat and a fast outfield providing value for shots.
"Seam was easier to face on this wicket, I felt, and our bowling attack was full of seamers, so they had to really hit their lengths," Wolvaardt said. "Because as soon as they missed their lengths, it was quite easy on this wicket, with a fast outfield as well. Kudos to our seamers, they must have hit their lengths very well to restrict them like that and bowl them out."
The result marked a successful comeback for South Africa, with the series now on the line and two more championship points up for grabs in the third and final ODI on Sunday.