Devonian Dan Bowser raced from 50 to 100 in just 12 balls to help fire record-breaking England into Monday’s final of the INAS Tri-Series as they brushed South Africa aside at Bramhall today.
Bowser’s second international century, his first in ODI cricket, provided the impetus as England posted 316 for three from 40 overs having been inserted.
Captain Chris Edwards also enjoyed a superb all-round day in his home county, pipping his team-mate to the man-of-the match award with 90, a run-out and three wickets in his first over of seamers.
The Cestrian shared a 110-run opening stand with Jonny Gale (41) to lay the platform for left-handed Bowser’s blistering assault on a true pitch as England posted their record total.
Edwards finished with 4-12 from six overs as South Africa were bowled out for 92 in 20.3, a victory margin of 224 runs.
Surrey new ball quick Tayler Young also claimed three wickets.
Speaking afterwards, Edwards said: “That was absolutely fantastic. We went out and dominated the game from ball one. The lads all gelled together, and it clicked the way we wanted it to.
“I’ve always dreamed of having an international in my home county, so to perform in front of friends and family is even better.”
Bowser, the 29-year-old left-hander, hit seven fours and eight sixes in all, peppering mid-wicket.
He hit six of his sixes in the 12 balls it took him to go from 50 to 100 before finishing on 108 off 56 balls, with the home batsmen also running particularly well between the wickets.
This was England’s second win against the Proteas.
They stand on five points from three games and can’t be caught by today’s opponents, who only have one more to play - against Australia at Oxton on Sunday.
England’s last group game comes against Australia at Tattenhall tomorrow.
South Africa currently sit on two points and Australia one.
Edwards, 24 years old, got off the mark with a pulled six from his eighth ball in the second over and later hit three successive boundaries off seamer Jali Mkhululi.
He reached 50 off 69 balls in the 21st, the same over as the century partnership came up with Gale.
Seamer Brendan Engelbrecht was the pick of the South African bowlers with 1-25 from eight, getting Gale caught at cover.
Edwards and Bowser were both victims of smart catches at mid-wicket and square-leg as England beat their previous high score of 233 against Australia in 2015.
Young gave England the ideal start to their defence by getting Phaphama Mthana caught behind for a second-ball duck before bowling Phelelani Mbambo in the fifth over, leaving the score at 27 for three.
Sandwiched in between, Edwards ran out Puseletso Modimola with a direct hit at the non-striker’s end from mid-wicket.
When Edwards had Mzwandile Mhlongo caught behind with his second ball, Keketso Chabedi lbw with his fourth and Kirby Legoabe caught behind with his fifth, South Africa were 56 for six in the 10th.
That became 57 for seven in the next when Young bowled Ayanda Kolisi.
Edwards’ fourth wicket was that of South Africa’s standout batsman, Eldrich George, who was bowled for 38 in the 18th over to add to previous scores of 44 and 57.
Ronnie Jackson trapped Mkhululi lbw in the 19th before wrapping up the win by bowling Winston Johnson in his next.
On his impressive display, Bowser said: “The first 50 they bowled pretty well, so I picked up what I could and knew that if I had 10 overs to go, that’s my game.
“As long as I got to the pitch of the ball and disturbed how they wanted to bowl, I was confident of getting a big score.
“In my head, I would probably say the game on Monday was a better innings (84 v South Africa).
“It was more important because we’d lost some early wickets. I was happy to see that through.
“But this was definitely pretty special. It’s up there as one of my best. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Edwards played in the club match when England T20 batsman Liam Livingstone scored 350 for Nantwich against his Caldy side in early 2015.
And of Bowser’s performance, he said: “When I played against Livingstone, we could have had him out third ball, but he went on and backed himself. It was exactly the same watching Dan today.
“That was definitely one of the best innings I’ve seen.
“He edged his way to 50 and then took it away.
“We’re a good strong squad of 15, and any one of those can do a job for us. We will recover well tonight and go again tomorrow.
“It’s important we put in a strong performance in preparation for the final.”
South Africa coach Mark Arthur added: “England constructed their performance well and were very organised.
“That’s not to say we weren’t organised, but they played well.
“I was especially proud of my bowling department today, and we have everything in place to do well going forwards.”