England 151 for 4 (Sciver 47, Khaka 1-10) beat South Africa148 for 6 (Bosch 61, Glenn 2-27) by six wickets
Katherine Brunt became England’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is and England completed their seventh-highest successful chase in the format to seal the series against South Africa, whose best performance so far was not good enough.
South Africa put on their highest opening partnership in any format on this tour (including the Ireland series), their highest against England and their fifth-highest overall and ended up with their second-highest T20I total against England even though they fell away at the end. After a strong start, South Africa were tied down by England’s spinners and lost six wickets for 45 runs between the 15th and 20th over.
The last of those was Laura Wolvaardt, who had been promoted to No. 3, and managed 21 off 15 balls before being bowled by a Brunt slower ball. Still, South Africa would have been reasonably happy with their effort until England raced to 50 off the first five overs, with only Sophia Dunkley back in the dug-out and a dropped catch in their fielding effort.
Bryony Smith was put down by Masabata Klaas at mid-off but the fluff only cost South Africa a run as Smith was given out lbw in the next over. Stand-in captain Nat Sciver – leading because Heather Knight has a hip niggle – put on 35 for the third wicket alongside Danni Wyatt to keep England on course before Sciver and Amy Jones put on 56 for the fourth wicket, in 36 balls. The result leaves South Africa winless across formats in the multi-format series.
After the cut cost her in both her in both internationals she had played on the England tour, Anneke Bosch showed clear intent to play straight and it paid off. She hit a cross-seam delivery back past Brunt with a bat so straight so you could read the maker’s name clearly and timing so sweet, Lara Goodall could turn around and watch it to the boundary, and then sent a Nat Sciver slower ball the same way.
By the time she reached 30, she had scored half her runs in the ‘V’, and all her boundaries in front of square and had begun to show the confidence to hit through the covers and midwicket. And once she had set South Africa up, Bosch deliberately guided a Brunt slower ball to fine leg and then reached her second T20I fifty with a sweep to deep backward square.
The anticipation of seeing 17-year-old edbutant Alice Capsey lasted until the 15th over, when she was given the ball to deliver her offspin. Her first delivery, full and drifting into Lara Goodall’s pads, was reverse-swept for four to bring up the South African hundred; her second should have been hit over the off side but Goodall hit it straight up and Sciver, at backward point, ensured Capsey got her first international wicket, with a straightforward catch.
Capsey’s fifth ball could have given her a second, when Bosch dragged a length delivery to long odd, where Brunt ran to her right, took the catch, realised she was heading over the boundary and threw the ball back in but couldn’t take it on the second attempt. Brunt was furious with herself as Capsey realised what being in the big time is all about.
Outspun in the end
South Africa were 119 for 1 after 16 overs and should have been eyeing a total of 150-plus but England’s spinners strangled them at the end. Bosch was given out lbw when she moved across to sweep Sophie Ecclestone and was hit on the pad. She reviewed but the impact was umpire’s call and ball-tracking showed it hitting off stump, so she had to go.
In the next over, Chloe Tryon charged down to slog sweep Sarah Glenn over the leg side but missed, and gave Jones an easy stumping. And later that over, Sune Luus played a nothing shot and hit Glenn to Wyatt at short extra cover. South Africa lost three wickets for 10 runs (and 4 for 28 from Goodall’s dismissal) to the spinners, and only scored 28 runs in the last four overs.
In what will likely end up being eight of the most memorable days of her career, Dunkley followed up three 50-plus scores on the bounce (including her first ODI century) with a statement assault on Masabata Klaas that put England’s chase on track. She hit Klaas’ first ball over Wyatt and to long-on, where Shabnim Ismail ran in, then had to run back and couldn’t cut it off.
Then she smashed back-to-back drives off deliveries that were too full and found the midwicket fence off a full toss to make Klaas’ the most expensive over of the match, with four balls left. It could have been worse but Dunkley’s final attempt to clear the rope found Ismail, who took the catch.
Sciver seals it
Unlike Bosch, whose boundaries came mostly in front of square, Sciver found the rope behind with a range of innovative scoops and sweeps. One of them almost got her into trouble when she walked across her stumps to play the paddle off Klaas and directed it finer than she thought. Sinalo Jafta moved across to her left but could not hold on to what would have been a good catch.
Sciver was on 21 at the time and went on to 47, her highest score in more than a year, since England’s series against India last July, before being run out at the non-striker’s end by Klaas. By then, England only needed eight runs off 12 balls and victory was all but secured.
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