Vice-captain Alex Blackwell and coach Matthew Mott have heaped praised on "courageous" Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars skipper Meg Lanning, who battled through a debilitating bout of gastro to steer her team to victory on Friday.
Lanning was almost a late scratching for the Southern Stars when she suddenly fell ill right before the toss in Nagpur, hunching over and vomiting at the side of the field.
She was unable to complete the coin toss and while she emerged from the rooms to stand alongside her teammates for the national anthem and take her place on the field, she again forced from the field for the last 35 minutes of South Africa's innings.
Quick Single: Lanning helps Stars to victory
But with her team at risk of a shock loss to the Proteas – a team they had never lost to – after falling to 3-9 and then sitting 4-53 in pursuit of South Africa’s 7-102, Lanning bravely padded up and headed out at No.6, blasting a business-like 30 not out from 19 balls to see Australia home with nine balls to spare.
"I was hoping Meg wouldn’t have to bat, but the way she came out and killed the game off with 30 off 19 really made the dressing room relax,” Blackwell, who weathered the early storm and then anchored Australia’s innings with a crucial unbeaten 38, said after the match.
Mott admitted he had started making plans for a last-minute change to the XI when Lanning fell ill.
"She really battled. She was very sick and we were worried she wouldn't be able to play," Mott told AAP.
"She was really struggling. Our doc got some injections into her and got her fit enough to bat. It was a pretty fantastic innings.
"It took every ounce of courage she had to get out there.
"To bat like she did, having almost come off your death bed, it was pretty inspirational."
But while Lanning's illness meant a last-minute re-shuffle to Australia's batting order, with Ellyse Perry promoted to first drop, it also had an unintentional effect on South Africa’s bowling plans.
Fast bowler Shabnim Ismail shocked Australia with a fiery spell that claimed 2-4 from her first two overs, including the wickets of Alyssa Healy and Elyse Villani.
She was then taken off.
Asked after the match why she hadn’t persisted with the right-armer – considering Australia were reeling at 3-9 – Proteas captain Mignon du Preez said it was with Lanning in mind.
"(Keeping on her) was something that went through the mind, but we also can't go all out up front,” du Preez said.
"We know in the past she's been very successful against Meg Lanning so we still wanted to give her a few overs when Meg came out and batted in the end."
That reprieve allowed Blackwell and Jonassen to rebuild and when Lanning did bat, she was in no mood to hang around, rapidly taking the game away from South Africa with an unbeaten 30 from 19 balls.
By the time Ismail returned to bowl the 18th over, the damage was done, as Blackwell and Lanning produced 53 runs from 51 balls to guide Australia home.
“When Jonassen and I were out there it was in control, but it was still a run a ball.
“I think we capitalised on a little bit of width they gave us later in the innings. You just can’t bowl outside off to Meg, she’s so powerful though point.
“Then I started to put more pressure on bowlers and create opportunities for myself. I didn’t think I needed take those risks too early, because I needed to anchor that innings today.”
Lanning is expected to be fit to face New Zealand at the same venue on Monday.