File: Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk.
TAUNTON, England – South Africa crashed to a 121-run defeat to England in their Tri-Nation women’s T20 International in Taunton, on Wednesday.
Following on from England’s men, who broke the record for the highest men’s ODI total against Australia a day earlier, England Women smashed the record for the highest women’s T20I score, a record set by New Zealand earlier on the same day, and which stood for less than six hours.
Poor South Africa were the opponents on both occasions, with England’s 250/3 setting up the massive victory.
Tammy Beaumont was the main architect, smashing the second-fastest century in women’s T20Is. An incredible 96 of her 116 came in boundaries, and almost all on the leg-side as she punished the Proteas for bowling too straight too often.
Disappointed Dan van Niekerk wants to see her team pull out all the stops in the next game against England. They are back in action at 18:40 (CAT). ProteasWomen AlwaysRising SAvNZ T20TriSeries pic.twitter.com/h70W39Yu40— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 20, 2018
Before she was dismissed, virtually the only moment of discomfort was when she went to scoop and only managed to send the ball into her own helmet grille.
Danni Wyatt, before Beaumont England’s only T20 centurion, was reduced, for once, to the role of supporting partner, contributing just 56 of England’s first-wicket stand of 147.
It wasn’t that she scored particularly slowly – her eventual strike-rate was over 150 – it’s just that it would have taken a bullet train to keep up with Beaumont.
Pushing England’s total into the realms of the record-breaking were Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt, who added 64 runs in just 4.2 overs.
Brunt was the slightly more scorching, briefly threatening the record for the fastest T20I fifty before falling to the innings’ penultimate ball for an 18-ball 42.
Captain Heather Knight chipped a single of her first ball to close the innings and bring up England’s 250.
It was a day of dj vu for the Proteas, and not just because of how often they had to fetch the ball from beyond the ropes.
With the bat two their two innings followed eerily similarly patterns, with early damage rendering improbable chases hopeless before captain Dane van Niekerk and former captain Mignon du Preez restored a semblance of respectability.
The early damage was set up by the mesmeric Anya Shrubsole, who came on to bowl with 616 runs having been scored in 60 overs in the day, and returned the sublime figures of 4-2-8-0.
Her opening partner Katherine Brunt was slightly less parsimonious, but made up with two wickets, finishing with 2/18.
South Africa were 26/3 and staring down the barrel of a record victory margin before van Niekerk and du Preez added 75, with van Niekerk again the major partner.
On another day, her 51-ball 72 would have been match-winning. As it was, it just about dragged her side past the half-way mark, with them eventually finishing on 129/6, just 121 runs shy.
On Wednesday, however, was all about England, and all about their batsmen. South Africa may well be dreading facing England again on Saturday. Considering the exploits of the two teams’ batting line-ups, everyone will be hotly anticipating the clash between England and New Zealand which will follow that game.