What a fantastic team England Women are. After an awful performance in the First One-Day International (ODI) against South Africa, they responded with two dominant victories to win the Royal London ODI Series 2-1.
They were led by two superb centuries from opener Tammy Beaumont, world-class batting and keeping from Sarah Taylor, excellent spin bowling from Sophie Ecclestone and high-class seam bowling from Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, but everyone played their part.
England collapse at Worcester…
In the opening game at Worcester, England embarrassingly collapsed to 64-6 as all their best batters failed. With good support from the rest of the lower order, Brunt hit 72 not out to save them from total humiliation. However, their eventual total of 189-9 was nowhere near enough, and South Africa romped home by seven wickets with 27 balls to spare thanks to 91 not out from Lizelle Lee.
…Then respond emphatically at Hove
That was a worrying start to the series, but England is a team of World Cup winners and a strong retort seemed inevitable. And so it proved at Hove, as Taylor and Beaumont put together a partnership of 156 that had echoes of their World Cup record-breaking partnership of 275 last year.
Although they did not score quite as many this time, their respective efforts of 118 and 101 were every bit as crucial to the outcome of the match. Chasing 332 to win, South Africa looked to be in with a chance during Lee’s excellent innings of 117. However, when Lee was well-caught by Danni Wyatt at point with the score at 170, the match looked over.
Chloe Tryon slammed 44 from 26 balls to ensure the tourists got closer than expected, but they eventually fell 69 runs short. Taylor was named player of the match on her home ground.
England seal series at Canterbury
It was a bit of a strange final game of the series, as South Africa struggled to score quickly enough after Lee was unluckily to be dismissed lbw by a ball from Shrubsole that Hawkeye suggested was going down the leg-side.
While England deserve credit for their superbly-disciplined bowling, some of the blame for the tourist’s loss must be levelled at Laura Wolvaardt and Andrie Steyn. Although Wolvaardt played well to score 64, both batters scored far too slowly for ODI cricket and their team suffered.
South African captain Dane van Niekerk showed her fellow batters the right way to play as she scored 95 from 106 balls. However, she was dismissed with the score on 212 and the tourists lost their last 6 wickets for just 16 runs. They were all out 228.
England’s chase never looked in doubt, even when Amy Jones and Taylor both got out in the space between the 11th and 14th overs. Taylor’s departure brought England captain Heather Knight to the crease, and she and Beaumont compiled 154 to take the hosts to the brink of victory.
The opener departed to warm applause shortly after reaching her second successive century with 27 runs still to get, and skipper Knight guided her team home.
England’s Unsung Heroes
Beaumont, Taylor, Ecclestone, Brunt and Shrubsole took the headlines, but there were other notable performances from England players. Georgia Elwiss bowled well at Hove and got the crucial wicket of Lee, Wyatt fielded superbly in the same match and took two catches and second spinner Laura Marsh took two wickets in each of the last two games.