Clean sweep for England women
England women completed a 3-0 one-day series whitewash over South Africa with a five-wicket win in Potchefstroom.
Lydia Greenway eased the nerves evident early in their pursuit of a modest 182 for victory courtesy of a patient 63, before Heather Knight completed the job with an unbeaten 55 off 73 balls.
There were seven overs to spare when Jenny Gunn pulled Marizanne Kapp for four to seal what was ultimately a comfortable triumph for the tourists, whose confidence is such that they will harbour high hopes of another clean sweep in the three-match Twenty20 series starting on Saturday.
England’s success - unlike the first two games, when imposing totals proved well beyond South Africa - was founded on an impressive performance with the ball.
Knight was at the forefront of that too, taking 2-15 from four overs to complement the frugal Arran Brindle’s 2-20 from 10.
“It was a good win - great to finish the series 3-0,” said Knight. “It was another good team performance.
“Arran and I established a good partnership (with the ball) in the middle. She bowled really well and I backed her up. It was pleasing to get a couple of wickets.
“I enjoyed going into the new role of batting at number six. It was brilliant to bat with Jenny and Lydia and I was pleased to be able to finish the game off. It was a good feeling to get my first not out for England.”
Laura Marsh was the only member of England’s six-strong bowling attack who failed to take a wicket, but her economy rate of 3.1 helped limit South Africa to 181 for nine after they were asked to bat first.
No-one bettered Alison Hodgkinson’s 34 from number three, and South Africa will lament their failure to build on a promising start that saw them reach 78 for one after 17 overs.
Greenway’s run-out of Trisha Chetty, who made 30, was the first of five wickets to tumble for the addition of 24 runs, and South Africa were therefore thankful for handy contributions down the order from Sunette Loubser and Dinesha Devnarain, with 24 and 20 respectively.
Greenway’s feat in rescuing England from seven for two - and then 42 for four - was even more valuable.
The scorer of an unbeaten 125 in the opening ODI, the left-hander struck five fours in her 90-ball innings, and maintained her composure despite seeing Sarah Taylor and Brindle perish cheaply.
Greenway was accompanied by Knight in a fifth-wicket alliance of 87 in fewer than 17 overs that shifted the balance of power back in England’s favour, and Knight’s clever manipulation of the strike continued even after her partner was superbly held by a back-pedalling Mignon du Preez at mid-off.
The experienced Gunn ensured it was no more than a hiccup for England, adding an unbroken 54 with Knight that underlined the tourists' dominance of a one-sided series.
England captain Charlotte Edwards said: “It’s great to win the series 3-0. That’s what we came out here to do, so I’m really pleased.
“It was our best bowling and fielding performance of the trip so far and I thought we stuck with it with the bat. Although we lost early wickets, Heather Knight and Lydia put on a really good partnership.
“People have stood up, especially the bowlers, who have got better and better throughout the trip, which bodes well for the Twenty20 series.
“We’ll take momentum from this as we move into the Twenty20 series on Thursday, which I’m sure will be a high-scoring affair.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some high scores on the board as I know the team always look forward to playing Twenty20 cricket.”