13th over: South Africa 70-1 (Van Niekerk 30, Kapp 34), target 124: Of course, much has been made in the buildup to the tournament of the danger of finishing second in this group and thus having to face Australia in the semi-final but India’s win on Friday has put the cat among the pigeons somewhat. But if England were to lose this, they’d be under serious pressure against West Indies. Anyway, Brunt returns, canny and economical, yielding four singles. She’s conceded only 11 from her three overs so far.
12th over: South Africa 66-1 (Van Niekerk 28, Kapp 32), target 124: Kapp finds the gap (which rhymes agreeably), as Glenn drops just a fraction short outside off and is cracked off the back foot past backward point for four. She’s fairly on the money for the rest of the over but the breakthrough still eludes England.
11th over: South Africa 58-1 (Van Niekerk 26, Kapp 26), target 124: Ecclestone returns and the South Africans continue to just push and nudge it around for singles, this pair bringing up the 50 partnership. It’s a pretty tidy over but wicketless ones will worry England. Sixty-six needed from nine.
10th over: South Africa 54-1 (Van Niekerk 24, Kapp 24), target 124: Glenn continues and keeps things pretty tight, conceding three singles before getting four off the final ball of the over as a diving Brunt fails to cut off the square drive on the offside. There’s been a little too much of that from England, and South Africa are four ahead of what England were at this stage, having lost two fewer wickets.
9th over: South Africa 47-1 (Van Niekerk 22, Kapp 19), target 124: England shuffle their bowling pack again and bring back Sciver, who’s belted over mid-on for four by Kapp, who helps the following ball round the corner for a single. Sciver just loses a little control by digging one in too short and wide, which is called as such to add one to the total. I’d have kept Ecclestone on for another over at this juncture, I think.
8th over: South Africa 38-1 (Van Niekerk 20, Kapp 13), target 124: The leg-spinner Sarah Glenn gets her first ever World T20 bowl, conceding a lofted two, a couple of singles and a scrambled two from a creditable first over. England could do with a wicket though.
7th over: South Africa 32-1 (Van Niekerk 15, Kapp 12), target 124: Spin, for the first time, as Ecclestone comes on for Shrubsole. There’s not much turn but there is decent bounce – and a wide, a push for a single, are all South Africa can muster until a glance down to third man brings four for Kapp. England can’t afford to concede those but they’re still very much in this.
6th over: South Africa 26-1 (Van Niekerk 14, Kapp 8), target 124: Brunt comes back, having bowled an excellent first over, and gets a good back-of-a-length stifling thing going with Van Niekerk, who’d threatened to cut loose the previous over. Everyone’s up on the offside too, which is shrewd use of the final powerplay over. A nudge off the hips for a single is all the captain can muster before Kapp unfurls a gorgeous cover drive for four off the final ball of the over.
5th over: South Africa 21-1 (Van Niekerk 13, Kapp 4), target 124: England opt to keep Shrubsole on for now, and Van Niekerk opts to go big, smiting a magnificent SIX, 78 metres and high over the ropes at deep midwicket. A bottom-edged mow along the ground in the same area brings four more and South Africa are motoring at last. Good use of the inswing from the Proteas captain.
4th over: South Africa 10-1 (Van Niekerk 2, Kapp 4), target 124: Sciver comes on for Brunt, and continues where the latter left off with a tight, straight line and challenging length. Five dot balls are her reward, inducing desperation from Kapp off the sixth ball of the over, a mistimed lofted on-drive being slightly misjudged in the deep and just clearing Winfield’s head and trickling to the boundary. She got her fingertips to it, which makes it technically a drop and, who knows, a 50p fine or something.
3rd over: South Africa 6-1 (Van Niekerk 2, Kapp 0), target 124: This is way too reckless from South Africa at this stage. Van Niekerk absolutely chucks the kitchen sink, and perhaps the upstairs shower unit as well, at the first ball of Shrubsole’s over, slicing down to deep backward point but getting away with it. Lee doesn’t though, dollying up the simplest of chances to Winfield with an ill-advised lofted on-drive attempt. This has been an excellent response from England’s seamers so far.
Wicket! Lee c Winfield b Shrubsole 4, South Africa 6-1
Shrubsole gets Lee for a fifth time, inducing a misjudge slog straight to Winfield at mid-on
2nd over: South Africa 5-0 (Lee 4, Van Niekerk 1), target 124: Brunt opens up at the other end and, like Shrubsole, finds plenty of movement in the Perth night air, swinging away from the right-handed Lee, who adds a single with a leg-glance when the bowler strays down legside. Brunt produces one of the balls of the day to beat Lee outside off-stump with a perfect teasing length and then has a big lbw shout following an attempted yorker but it had flicked bat as well as pad. A fine over though.
1st over: South Africa 3-0 (Lee 3, Van Niekerk 0), target 124: South Africa open with a fearsome pair of hitters in Lee and Van Niekerk, England toss the new ball to the seasoned campaigner Shrubsole, who finds some probing inswing from the off, as you’d expect/hope from her. Lee isn’t hanging about, mind, and slogs the second ball high and far and perilously close to Winfield at long-off but it drops short and they run two. It’s a very good opening over and needs to be – England don’t have a lot to play with here.
Innings break reading: South Africa’s women look in decent shape so far, but their men have had a bit of a shocker against Australia:
And in case you missed it, Geoff Lemon’s tournament scene-setter:
That was an excellent bowling performance from South Africa, their impressive attack more than living up to expectations. And England will really have to be at their unyielding, aggressive best to win this. India managed it the other day bowling second, with aplomb, and England need to learn from that.
England finish on 123-8; South Africa need 124 to win
20th over: England 123-8 ( Ecclestone 1, Shrubsole 3) Kapp gets the final over and Beaumont shows her class with a brilliantly placed lofted flick to leg for four. Kapp’s comeback is excellent and she snares her lbw, a decision confirmed after Beaumont reviews. England can only dig out two singles off the next two balls – excellent death bowling from Kapp – before Shrubsole larrups the final ball of the innings high towards but short of long-on, and they’re able to run two. Kapp ends with figures of two for 19.
Wicket! Beaumont lbw b Kapp 9, England 119-8
Kapp gets Beaumont lbw after the batter misses an attempted swipe to leg. The umpire’s finger goes up, Beaumont reviews, to no avail – it was hitting the top of off.
Wicket! Winfield c Tryon b Khaka 1
19th over: England 115-7 (Beaumont 5, Winfield 1) A vital wicket for South Africa as Khaka dismisses Sciver with a slow cutter. Winfield, trying to restore momentum, almost holes out to long-on but the ball drops short. Beaumont then ramps it up – literally – by scooping over the keeper’s head for four. She’s a handy person to have coming in at No 7. But she loses Winfield at the other end, whose fine sweep is taken at leg slip by Tryon.
Wicket! Sciver b Khaka 50, England 109-6
Advantage back to South Africa now! A magnificent slower ball from Khaka foxes Sciver and takes her off stump out after a swing and a miss.
18th over: England 109-5 (Sciver 50, Beaumont 0) Ismail is given her last over at this point as South Africa look to break this partnership and she should have had a run out to celebrate straight away but Chetty fumbles a difficult take from a too-low throw from Kapp in the deep. Then Brunt digs out a really fine slower ball and sends it to the ropes with a brilliant on-drive. But the fun doesn’t last and she perishes next ball. They crossed, so Sciver faces the next ball which she nudges fine to the boundary for four and then clips a single to reach a terrific half-century. Ismail ends with 1-26 from four.
Wicket! Brunt c Khaka b Ismail 9, England 104-5
More good bowling from Ismail, besting Brunt for pace and bounce and inducing an awkward slogged square cut that goes up but not far enough and Khaka takes at deep backward point.
17th over: England 98-4 (Sciver 45, Brunt 3) Lovely, clever cricket from Sciver as she advances to Khaka and just helps the ball over the top of the keeper with a superb ramp shot for four. An eagerly-run two ensues. A mow in front of square on the leg brings two more. Life comes at you fast in T20 and there’s a sense England have got themselves right back in the game in these past two overs.
16th over: England 88-4 (Sciver 36, Brunt 2) At last, England unshackle themselves as Sciver swipes Mlaba over the ropes for a timely SIX. After an easy single, her partner, Brunt, misses a drive but scampers a leg-bye to give the strike back to Sciver, who expertly finds the gap at wide long-on for another four. England might be behind the game here but they’ll be glad to have these two, particularly Sciver, out there at the minute. Though Brunt is well bamboozled by Mlaba last ball, swiping and missing.
15th over: England 75-4 (Sciver 24, Brunt 2) Van Niekerk completes her allocation of overs with another decent display of middle-overs bowling. And, frustrated, England lose a wicket as Wilson holes out desperately. Brunt, who can be handy at this stage of an innings, is sent out at No 6 and is off the mark with a scoop over the keeper’s head. The Proteas’ captain ends with figures of two for 20 from four.
Wicket! Wilson c Ismail b Van Niekerk 14, England 72-4
Wilson tries to go over the top but her high on-drive is snapped up by Ismail who takes her second catch of the match.
14th over: England 69-3 (Sciver 21, Wilson 12) South Africa give Ismail a third over, and are rewarded with more accurate parsimony, mostly just back of a length but never wayward and England can’t break the chains. Three singles from the over. There hasn’t been a boundary since the 10th.
13th over: England 66-3 (Sciver 19, Wilson 12) The canny Van Niekerk continues, and continues to keep England on a leash at a time when they really need to start finding or clearing the ropes. That they can’t is testament to smart field placing on the legside in particular, though Wilson manages a two from the fifth ball of the over.This pair have been together for five overs now and probably nee
12th over: England 60-3 (Sciver 17, Wilson 8) The effervescent Ismail comes back into the attack, beating Sciver for pace outside off stump and then inducing a slightly mistimed pull for one thanks to the pace she generates off the surface. She mixes up her pace too to keep the batters guessing – and South Africa on top. Terrific bowling.
11th over: England 56-3 (Sciver 15, Wilson 6) A bit of a middle-overs-meander vibe (ask your grandad) about England’s run rate at the moment, leisurely singles but not a lot more. Four singles and a hastily scrambled two, which requires confirmation from the TV umpire that Sciver was in, from Van Niekerk’s over.
10th over: England 50-3 (Sciver 13, Wilson 2) Wilson misses a reverse sweep that might have been called wide, but isn’t, then misses a conventional sweep that prompts an unconvincing lbw shout from Mlaba, the bowler. And then misses a slog that the keeper, Chetty, can’t convert into a stumping, though they send it upstairs for a check. She finally connects and scores a run with – you guessed it – a reverse sweep. Sciver, upon whom much now depends, then shows the way by blootering a low full toss to the long-on boundary for four.
9th over: England 45-3 (Sciver 9, Wilson 1) The captain, Van Niekerk, brings herself and her right-arm spin on, and it pays off second ball thanks to Ismail’s superb catch in the deep. A reverse paddle for one gets Wilson off the mark, but it’s one of only two runs from the over.
Wicket! Knight c Ismail b Van Niekerk 6, England 43-3
Excellent catch. Knight loft the spinner Van Niekerk down the ground, it looks boundary bound but Ismail darts in from long-on to take it low and on the run. Another big scalp for the Proteas.
8th over: England 43-2 (Sciver 8, Knight 6) The spinner Mlaba returns from the opposite end to where she opened the innings, and Knight paddles her first ball fine on the leg side for one. They’re getting them in ones at the moment, as the left-armer tucks them up, and England must be content with an over of five singles. Gaps are no longer being found and South Africa look hungry in the field.
7th over: England 38-2 (Sciver 6, Knight 3) Khaka continues, swinging into the right-handers to decent effect. Knight clips a single before Sciver, as she can do, takes advantage of a rare overpitched ball, lunging forward and belting it on the full straight past the bowler for a rare (of late) four.
6th over: England 31-2 (Sciver 1, Knight 1) Kapp is given a third over on the bounce, and Sciver is off the mark with a nudge off her hips. Knight gets on the scoreboard too with a high square cut for another single. Kapp is giving a becalmed England very little to work with here, though she does stray down the legside for a wide, generally hitting that off-stump corridor just back of a length, and the dot balls pile up. SA very much on top at the moment. As Nasser in the commentary box says, 31-2 is low off a powerplay at this ground.
5th over: England 28-2 (Sciver 0, Knight 0) Ayabonga Khaka replaces Ismail and strikes first ball, Wyatt bunting it on the full to Lee at backward point. Kaka doesn’t have the pace of Ismail and Kapp but gets swing in the air, and forces the captain, Knight, to be watchful, which she needs to be for a bit after that double blow. This is a good over from the 27-year-old.
Wicket! Wyatt c Lee b Khaka 2, England 26-2
Both openers gone now. Wyatt lazily slashes Kaka’s indifferent first ball to Lee who takes a low catch.
4th over: England 26-1 (Wyatt 2, Sciver 0) Good bowling from Kapp who cramps up an advancing Jones with a slightly shorter one, though the opening batter still manages to nudge it round the corner for one. Wyatt, facing only her second ball, makes it two from two with a quick single. Good fielding in the deep then prevents two becoming three for Jones, who then perishes with an ill-advised thwack. England send out Nat Sciver next, who runs a quick single off the last ball of a good over.
They’re playing some decent between-overs, between-balls music on the PA here (if you like that sort of thing) – Talking Heads, Human League, Abba, Dizzy Rascal. Although time and a place and all that.
Wicket! Jones c Tryon b Kapp 23, England 25-1
Jones’s first bad bit of cricket is punished, trying to loft a back of a lenghth ball that wasn’t really loftable and scooping up towards extra cover where Tryon takes a comfortable catch. Big scalp for South Africa as Jones had been playing beautifully
3rd over: England 21-0 (Jones 20, Wyatt 1) Ismail comes into the attack, having been spurned for the first over, and Wyatt drives the first ball she’s faced so far for a single, before Jones punctures the infield again with a magnificent back-foot push for four. Two more follow when Jones doesn’t quite get hold of a short one and pulls it past mid-on. Another slightly mistimed pull brings another single, Ismail digging it in short in general here.
“This World Cup has been a treat to follow so far,” trills our old friend Abhijato Sensarma. “The emotions, the debutants, the excellent atmosphere, and the close finishes have all made for an exceptional start to the tournament. The women’s game has grown exponentially since the 50-over event in 2017. Matches such as these only improve their appeal. Hopefully the momentum continues today, and we’re treated to another thriller.”
2nd over: England 13-0 (Jones 13, Wyatt 0) Getting a bit blowy out there, as is the custom, and South Africa opt for pace at the other end, Kapp swinging a ripper past Jones’s outside edge to introduce herself using the breeze and the seam expertly. She’s got 77 T20i caps for a reason. But Jones finds the boundary with her fourth ball, adeptly finding the gap between midwicket and mid-on with a deliciously timed clip. A good-cricket-all-round kind of over. Four runs, five dots.
1st over: England 9-0 (Jones 9, Wyatt 0) There’s a good and noisy South Africa following in as Mlaba, the left-arm spinner, is surprisingly tossed the new ball and England opt for their conventional opening pair of Jones, who plays here in the WBBL, and Wyatt. Mlaba is accurate, tossing it up and into the slot, and gets two dots to start with before Jones leathers a full toss past mid-off for four. Jones is even classier next ball, advancing and lofting over mid-off for four more. Good confident start from a good confident batter.
The players are out, and the anthems are a-playin’
This is the third match on this pitch in two days, though as Hazel Potter points out, that’s under 80 overs in total, so we’re still talking about a first-day surface in old money. The chasing team won both yesterday’s matches of course.
They line up thusly:
England Amy Jones, Danni Wyatt, Natalie Sciver, Heather Knight, Fran Wilson, Katherine Brunt, Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Winfield, Anya Shrubsole, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn
South Africa Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp, Dane van Niekerk, Mignon du Preez, Chloe Tryon, Sune Luus, Trisha Chetty, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Nonkululeko Mlaba
South Africa win the toss and bowl
Dane van de Niekerk reckons defending here in the BBL was a bit tricky, so would rather chase. Heather Knight says she’d have done likewise. She says the team have sat down and regrouped since the Ashes under a new coach and with new younger players and is looking forward to show the work the team have done.
Yesterday’s match in this group, also at the Waca, saw West Indies eventually cruise to a seven-wicket victory over Thailand, while the same venue also hosted an eventually comfortable win by the same margin for New Zealand over the Sri Lanka side that eviscerated England in a warm-up last week.
And while we’re waiting for the toss, have yourselves an Anya Shrubsole interview:
Morning/evening everyone, and welcome to what is likely to be the pivotal fixture in Group B. An England side in transition and under new management, in the form of coach Lisa Keightley, but still boasting plenty of big tournament experience, take on a South Africa team with a historically poor record in this competition but who are improving and are certainly capable of mounting a challenge this time.
England had a bit of a chastening past year, having been well beaten in the Ashes last English summer and edged out of the recent Tri Series by Australia and India, but you’d still fancy them to make the final, with a fair wind. Talking of wind, that brings us to Perth and the fact today’s match is being played at the dear old Waca, fabled fast bowlers’ paradise of yore, though it might be in the spin department that England are currently strongest, with Sophie Ecclestone a serious threat and a relative dearth of seam options behind Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt.
South Africa have progressed from their group only once in this competiton’s 11-year history but boast plenty of BBL experience in their ranks, which can count for a lot here. Pace bowlers Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail are capable of giving England the hurry-up and Lizelle Lee, who has 1,434 T20i runs to her name at a strike rate of 107 will threaten at the top of the order.
Toss is in 10 minutes or so. Bring it, as they say, on.