CAPE TOWN - England aren’t ICC Women’s world champions for nothing. And they proved it on Tuesday in the second ODI at home with a commanding all-round performance.
Even a masterful century from Proteas opener Lizelle Lee could not stop the hosts from leveling the three-match series at Hove. Lee’s 117 off just 107 balls (13x4, 5x6) was bettered by England’s Sarah Taylor (118) and Tammy Beaumont (101). The pair shared a match-winning 156-run partnership for the second wicket.
After an impressive performance last Saturday that had Lee raving about “the best attack in the world”, South Africa’s much-vaunted bowling unit was hugely disappointing on Tuesday, with the likes of Shabnim Ismail (2/78) and Ayabonga Khaka (2/72) experiencing a rare off day at the office.
The carnage started from the very first over with Ismail conceding 10 runs. Captain Dane van Niekerk hauled her star fast bowler out of the attack immediately, but this did little to stem the run flow. Ismail and Khaka were equally guilty of offering too much width with the new ball, which allowed Beaumont and Amy Jones to rattle up 71 for the first wicket in 14 overs.
Jones’ demise for 29 off 38 balls (4x4, 1x6) brought Taylor to the crease though. The experienced wicket-keeper/batsman wasted little time in getting her innings going before unveiling her full array of shots all around the wicket. Her particular favourite being the lap shot over the ‘keeper’s head, which gave Van Niekerk plenty to think about in the field. AB de Villiers may have retired from the international men’s game, but the women surely have a “Ms 360” in Taylor.
South Africa’s run-chase was always going to require Lee to create the momentum upfront. The burly opener certainly tried her level best, regularly smashing the England bowlers over mid-wicket for six.
Along with Laura Wolfvaardt, the Proteas opening pair put on 142 for the first wicket to create the perfect platform for the middle-order to launch an assault later on. The only criticism was that Wolfvaardt was perhaps guilty of not rotating the strike often enough, with her 32 coming off 62 balls at a strike-rate of 51.61. Considering South Africa had to score at an asking rate of 6.64 from the outset, the talented teenager certainly needs to find a way to expand her range of strokes, especially after the Powerplay fielding restrictions have been lifted.
South Africa’s chase faltered after Lee’s dismissal, with only Chloe Tryon’s cameo of 44 off 31 balls (3x4, 4x6) and Marizanne Kapp's 29 not out providing some form of hope towards the backend. Ultimately it was not enough though with Sami Ecclestone claiming 3/54 to ensure the series is all set for the decider on Friday in Canterbury.