Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole star to lead England to victory

Maryam Mallick
16 Nov 2018
Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole star to lead England to victory

Nat Sciver. ©ICC

England record a seven wicket win over South Africa to knock them out of the World Twenty-20. Batting first, South Africa posted 86-10 on the board, which England chased down with ease in the 15th over. England has proven once again to be South Africa's jinx team, first defeating them in the semi-final of the World Cup, now knocking them out of the World Twenty-20.

South Africa's woes with the bat continued in their must-win encounter against England. Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt struggled at the top of the order as their opponents made early inroads. Amy Jones took a good catch behind the stumps to dismiss Wolvaardt for four, within the Power Play, so that by the end of it, South Africa were on 24-1. Lee tried to settle into her innings, going against her natural game and scoring a patient 12 off 26. When she smashed Sophie Ecclestone for a six, it looked as if the aggressive Lee had returned but, she could not accelerate and walked back to the dugout, caught LBW off the bowling of Natalie Sciver.

Marizanne Kapp then looked to attack but was well-caught by Sophia Dunkley for nine. From there, the South African skipper Dane van Niekerk suffered the worst possible dismissal, being run out on the non-strikers end. Mignon du Preez hit the ball straight back as bowler Kirstie Gordon dived to get a hand on it. van Niekerk was caught short of the crease and had to walked back before third umpire Jacqueline Williams even announced her decision. Chloe Tryon then joined du Preez and the two tried to lead a rebuilding effort with their 25-run stand. du Preez showed some intent after settling in and smashed Gordon for a six, who then bounced back to claim her wicket off the next delivery. Tryon then showed just why she is one of the most destructive players in the game when she took two maximums off a Linsey Smith over but, in the next one she mishit the ball straight into the hands of Ecclestone and walked back for a 28-ball-27. No South African batter had a strike rate of 100 or above.

Anya Shrubsole then returned to the attack in the last over and claimed a hat-trick to clean up the tail. South Africa was bundled out for 85. She finished with figures of 3-11. Particularly impressive with the ball though, was Sciver, who claimed 3-4 from her four overs and was named Player-of-the-Match for her efforts. Gordon took two wickets while Smith chipped in with one to restrict their opposition.

Chasing the low total, England got off to a flyer of a start. Both openers, Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt showed positive intent early, taking Shabnim Ismail- who had been unplayable in her previous matches at St. Lucia- for a 14 from her first over and 11 from her second. By the end of the Power Play, England were cruising on 41-0, their total helped along by some sloppy fielding. What the South African batters struggled to do, the English batters did with ease; find the boundary regularly and where it was not on offer, rotate the strike.

van Niekerk broke the 55-run partnership by bowling Wyatt for a run-a-ball 27 from the first delivery of her spell. In the following over, Moseline Daniels dislodged the bails of Sciver's leg-stump before van Niekerk returned to have Beaumont caught for 24. England suffered a small collapse, losing three wickets for five runs. Captain Heather Knight then joined with Amy Jones to guide her side to a seven wicket win in the 15th over.

While South Africa can no longer qualify for the knockout stages, they have a match remaining against Bangladesh which they will want to win to end their tournament on a high. Should Sri Lanka lose to West Indies later today, England will qualify. Otherwise, it will come down to the result of their match against West Indies.