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Taylor happy to be back in the runs

Sarah Taylor was pleased to return to form as England women secured a 15-run victory in the first of three T20 internationals against South Africa.

Taylor produced a string of paddles, sweeps and ramps in her unbeaten 51-ball 74, which guided England to 147 for seven from their 20 overs.

That proved far too many for the hosts, despite a 96-run opening stand between Dane van Niekerk and Trisha Chetty, as England's bowlers kept it tight during the middle overs.

The 26-year-old wicketkeeper-batter Taylor had made just two runs in as many innings at the back end of England's one-day international series triumph, and was glad to put her stamp on the short-form campaign early.

“I was a little bit gutted that I hadn't put any runs on the board in the last two ODIs,” she told ecb.co.uk.

“We always speak about the first game of the series and putting a marker out, so I was very happy with how I performed and how the team performed.

“I think you've just got to be positive – the last couple of games I was probably thinking a little bit too much, but T20 cricket allows you to go out there and express yourself and that includes the paddles and the dabs.

“I'm just hoping I can carry that on into the next couple of games.”

Having reached 96 without loss, the home side came unstuck when Van Niekerk and Chetty fell within the space of four balls and they were unable to get on top of a rising run-rate.

Anya Shrubsole took 3-9 in her second spell with the ball, but Taylor reserved praise for Jenny Gunn and Heather Knight for their valuable support act

“There was a period at the start where they were going really, really well,” Taylor added. “It was touch and go for a second, but that squeeze came, the bowlers in the middle did absolutely brilliantly – Trev, Jen – they were fantastic so it just took the game away from them a little bit and they were just struggling from then on.

“I think we've done really, really well.”

The two remaining games in the series form double-headers with the men's sides, starting at Newlands tomorrow, while Taylor also has half an eye on the ICC World Twenty20 in India next month.

“There might be a few changes, you never know – it's one of those things where the new coaches are trying to find the best XI come that World Cup and the players have got a chance to showcase what they're about,” she continued.

“It's one of those games [tomorrow] we've been talking about for a very long time.

“I'm glad we've started well so the momentum will go with us into tomorrow.”

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