Mighty England decimate South Africa to clinch T20 series

England rejoicing © Getty Images

Majestic England thrashed South Africa by six wickets in the second T20I at Worcester on Saturday (July 23) to claim the three-match T20 series 2-0 with one match to spare.

England were without their regular skipper Heather Knight, who was ruled out of the game due to a hip injury. Natalie Sciver took the charge in her absence and opted to bowl after the coin fell in favour of the hosts.

England decided to hand the young 17-year-old Alice Capsey her debut cap as she replaced Issy Wong in the playing XI. On the other hand, the visitors decided to go in with an unchanged team.

While opener Anneke Bosch was able to keep the board scoreboard ticking at around six runs per over, Lara Goodall clearly struggled to get a move on.

Some efficient bowling display from England upfront and a clear lack of enterprise from Goodall saw the Proteas score under a run-a-ball at the end of the powerplay.

Goodall finally showed glimpses of some power-hitting form as she first hammered the England captain for a boundary through mid-wicket on the third delivery of the tenth over and then clipped her through short fine leg for the second consecutive boundary of the over.

Bosch, who looked in fine touch right from the outset brought her half-century in superb style as she shuffled across her stumps to sweep Sarah Glenn away towards deep backward square for a boundary. She topped it up with another boundary (this time towards the deep-midwicket region) as Glenn bowled a half-tracker.

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The duo of Goodall and Bosch got South Africa to their highest opening stand (98) against England in T20Is. The pair crossed the 100-run mark on the first delivery of the 15th over as Goodall reverse swept the debutant Capsey for a four through point. But the youngster came back strongly and dismissed the southpaw to claim her first wicket in international cricket.

Capsey could have had another wicket to her name had Katherine Brunt hung on to a spectacular catch at long-on. Brunt grabbed the catch initially but had to toss the ball inside the field of play as her momentum was about to take her over the rope. She came back inside to pouch it again but her second attempt went in vain.

Bosch also perished while trying to up the ante as she picked the wrong length to employ a conventional sweep. A fuller delivery from Sophie Ecclestone was good enough to put an end to her innings in the 17th over.

Bosch’s wicket brought two more in quick succession for the hosts as Chloe Tryon and skipper Suné Luus fell in search of some quick boundaries.

Katherine Brunt bowled a superb final over of South Africa’s innings as she only conceded six runs and bagged Laura Wolvaardt’s wicket on the penultimate over of the innings. Wolvaardt’s wicket helped Brunt reach the zenith of the tally of most wickets claimed by an English bowler in T20 cricket. She surpassed Anya Shrubsole (102 wickets) to claim the honour.

The visitors finally posted 148 runs in their 20 overs – a remarkable improvement in batting display from the previous match.

In pursuit of a challenging total, the first two overs of England’s innings turned out to be uneventful. But the third over was full of high-octane action. Bowling her first over of the match, Masabata Klaas got off to an unfortunate start as Shabnim Ismail misjudged a catching opportunity at long-on as the ball fell over the ropes by inches and England’s dasher Sophia Dunkley got a reprieve.

Dunkley clobbered Klass for three consecutive fours immediately after the drop chance. But just when it appeared that she’ll run away with the game yet again, luck smiled on the visitors.

Three balls later Dunkley miscued a high-risk stroke and Ismail pouched the chance to redeem herself. Two overs and three deliveries later Ayabonga Khaka provided Luus’ side with their second breakthrough of the match. She trapped Bryony Smith in front of the stumps in the sixth over.

But despite bagging two top-order England batters, South Africa were still under the pump as Danielle Wyatt was breathing down their neck. Wyatt first tonked Tryon on the last two deliveries of her first over (fifth over of England’s innings) and didn’t look back from there.

She went on to smash four more boundaries before falling to the left-arm off-spin of Tryon in the 11th over. Her mighty acceleration that came at an astounding rate of 162.50 put Sciver’s side in a commanding position.

Although England had lost their three top batters inside 11 overs, some swift batting from the outset made sure they were in control of their run chase.

Needing 64 to get off 55 balls, the pair of Sciver and wicket-keeper batter Amy Jones played some sensible strokes to get the hosts closer to the target. Sciver, in particular, was the more aggressive batter of the two as she scored 47 runs off 41 balls at a strike rate of 114.63.

She eventually fell with England needing just eight runs to win and also missed out on a well-deserved half-century. The hosts cruised to a six-wicket victory as Maia Bouchier struck a pull to collect a four on the last delivery of the penultimate over.

Brief Score: South Africa 148/6 in 20 overs (Anneke Bosch 61; Sarah Glenn 2/27) lost to England 151/4 (Natalie Sciver 47; Ayabonga Khaka 1/10) by six wickets; POTM: Danielle Wyatt