England cruised to a landslide victory over South Africa on Monday at Northampton, knocking them out for 218 in 47.4 overs before going on the run with 107 balls and five wickets to spare.
An assured hundred from Emma Lamb, who hadn’t scored a run in white-ball cricket before this game, ensured England were utterly dominant in the chase, while Nat Sciver joined the party by breaking a half century of 31 balls.
“It’s amazing,” Lamb said. “When we lost an early wicket there was a bit of pressure on me, but I still wanted to play my game and not change anything. Everything about my bow, I wanted to hit it 100%.
“It was a big mindset issue for us – we wanted to be really positive with the bat. When we play our best cricket, we can dominate and win easily.
Lamb – whose sleeves were glistening with slashing cuts – had come out firing a square-legged straight leg in the 31st, but it only took 12 more balls from Heather Knight and Danni Wyatt to finish the job.
Newlyweds Sciver and Katherine Brunt had previously set up the rout, between them taking seven wickets for 77 runs after becoming the first married couple to open bowling in international cricket.
Brunt made a typically spirited return to international cricket with an opening spell of 5-1-5-2, which began by persuading Knight to call an unsuccessful overhaul for late against Andrie Steyn. She made up for that with wickets in the fourth and fifth overs of the spell, trapping lbw Steyn, before Lara Goodall – having successfully overturned a second lbw decision two balls earlier – cut one off Knight on the slide.
Sciver admittedly had less success with the new ball, conceding 21 runs in three overs from the Lynn Wilson Center end. But when she passed the end of Wantage Road after drinking, she struck straight away to pull off in-form Marizanne Kapp, with Kate Cross rolling to her left halfway to take the hold.
Laura Wolvaardt had acquired patient 43 from 72 balls, but was given lbw to Charlie Dean on the 30th and walked – despite later criticism clearly showing an inside edge.
It would have been an even bigger disaster for South Africa had it not been for Chloe Tryon, who returned to the side with a vengeance after missing the test with a hip problem. She slammed a ferocious 88 from 73 balls, sharing a 97 run partnership with Nadine de Klerk for the sixth wicket. Granted, she beat like a cat with nine lives – shot by Amy Jones behind the stumps on the 19th, and twice pardoned by the DRS after lbw decisions on the ground backfired.
His innings, epitomized by a massive six smashed onto the roof of the Cinch Stand in the 40th, was enough to lift South Africa over 200, but – having previously helped reduce South Africa to 108 for five – Sciver and Brunt then combined at the death to catch both batters and force a five-wicket tail slump for just 13 runs.