The Momentum Proteas broke their 15-year dry spell in England when they beat the hosts at home for the first time since 2003. The seven-wicket victory, which was set up by bowlers, Shabnim Ismail (3/25) and Ayabonga Khaka (3/42) and consolidated by batters, Lizelle Lee (92*) and captain Dané van Niekerk, saw the visitors take a one-nil lead in the three-match series in Worcester on Saturday. It was a particularly sweet victory as it was the hosts’ first match at home since their ICC World Cup win at Lord’s last year, adding two valuable points towards the visitors’ ICC Women’s Championship campaign.
South Africa’s front-line pace attack, led by Ismail, Khaka and Marizanne Kapp (1/51) had the home side reeling on 64/6 inside the first 17 overs of their innings after they won the toss and elected to bat first. Katherine Brunt took charge of the innings, returning unbeaten for 72 off 98 balls (8x4s), while wickets tumbled all around her.
She led England’s recovery well, helping them reach 189/9 at the end of their innings after they were rocked to 97/8 in the 35th over.
The second highest score came from the extras margin, an area that South Africa will look to improve before the next match on Tuesday. They conceded 25 runs, 12 of which were wides, while Amy Jones, Natalie Sciver and Laura Marsh rounded off England’s top scores, all in their teens, with 19, 16 and 15 respectively.
South Africa’s chase got off to a rocky start when they lost Laura Wolvaardt and Suné Luus for two and none respectively. The former was beaten for pace off a delivery by Brunt and was clean bowled while the latter fell victim to the lightning quick hands of wicketkeeper, Sarah Taylor.
Van Niekerk was promoted up the order, batting at four and shared a match-winning, 113-run stand with Lee, steering their side towards victory before the skipper was bowled out by Anya Shrubsole (2/36) for 58 (79 balls, 10x4s, 1×6) in the 28th over. Mignon du Preez entered the fray and added a brisk, 36* runs to the scoreboard (57 balls, 5x4s) as she and Lee sent their side to a cruising victory with 27 balls to spare.
The second match will take place in Hove on Tuesday at 13:00 local time (14:00 SAST). All three matches in the series will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Momentum Proteas squad: Dané van Niekerk (captain), Lizelle Lee, Chloe Tryon, Mignon du Preez , Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Suné Luus, Laura Wolvaardt, Stacey Lackay.