England women march on
Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards starred with the bat as England women continued their winning streak against South Africa with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in the first Twenty20 international in Potchefstroom.
A modest target of 129 proved well within the reach of the tourists, who on Tuesday completed a 3-0 whitewash in the one-day series, as they romped home with 17 balls unused.
Taylor clubbed 50 off 33 deliveries from number three and shared a second-wicket stand of 98 with skipper Edwards, who struck 49 from 46, after England had lost Laura Marsh for a duck in the first over of their chase.
South Africa earlier laboured to 128 for six, despite a 37-ball 51 from Alison Hodgkinson and a rapid 31 from Chloe Tryon, who also returned 1-18 from four overs.
“I enjoyed the game today. There was some great boundary hitting from both teams - even the good balls went for four,” said Taylor.
"I feel in good nick and it was good to bat with Charlotte but the bowlers did the work for us today by restricting South Africa.
"It’s a nice wicket and if you get your hands through the ball it just goes, it’s such a quick outfield. It was a good day. It’s always exciting playing Twenty20 cricket and hopefully we’ll see some more big hitting in the next two games."
The hosts made a sluggish start and only 24 were on the board by the time Dane van Niekerk was run out by Danni Hazell in the sixth over.
Trisha Chetty followed soon after, caught by Jenny Gunn off Arran Brindle, and Mignon du Preez made just three before being bowled by Hazell.
At that point, South Africa were 49 for three in the 11th over, but Hodgkinson and Tryon responded well to lift them to a respectable total, the former striking seven fours and one six.
Yolandi van der Westhuizen and Tryon each fell to Isa Guha, who finished with 2-30, while Hodgkinson was run out by a combination of Taylor and Jenny Gunn off the final ball of the innings.
Brindle, with 1-15 from four overs, and Hazell, who picked up 1-19, were the most economical England bowlers.
England’s reply started poorly when Marsh was bowled by Tryon without scoring.
However, it was not long before the tourists were in complete control, courtesy of a fine partnership between Edwards and Taylor.
Taylor struck nine fours before falling in the 11th over, while Edwards hit six boundaries, including one six, and looked set to follow her partner to 50, only to then be run out one short of the landmark.
Lydia Greenway and Brindle eased England over the line and finished unbeaten on 14 and eight respectively.