England’s T20 World-Cup campaign got off to the worst possible start as they were beaten by South-Africa in a tense final over showdown in Perth.
Lisa Keightley’s side had entered the competition lacking confidence in the batting department, and this showed once again, as they slumped to just 123-8 from their 20 overs.
Amy Jones started nicely to score 23, whilst Nat Sciver made 50 on her return from injury. These were the only two batters to pass the 20 run mark, however, as Ayabonga Khaka (3-25) and Dane van Nierkerk (2-20) tore through much of England’s top order.
In response, England’s bowlers showed fight and bowled tightly to force England back into contention. Anya Shrubsole removed Lizelle Lee in just the third over for four, before Marizanne Kapp and van Nierkerk began to rebuild.
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With five overs to go, South Africa were 85-1, still needing 39 runs to win. Both Kapp and Van Nierkerk fell in the space of five balls to put England on top and when Chloe Tyron fell at the end of the 19th over, South Africa required nine from the final six balls.
Katherine Brunt began the final over well, restricting South Africa to just two singles, before Mignon du Preez, playing in her 100th game, struck a fine six over the long leg, following this up with a boundary next ball to guide her country home.
This was the first time South Africa have beaten England at the T20 World Cup and there were clear signs that this is perhaps the strongest side they have ever brought to a World Cup competition to date. Having reached the Semi-Finals just once in six attempts, this victory gives them a very realistic chance of reaching that stage again.
England meanwhile has their work cut out if they are to progress to the knockout stages. Captain Heather Knight insisted that it was not “time for panic stations” just yet, but England will likely have to win all three of their remaining fixtures, starting with their next game against Thailand on Wednesday to be assured of progressing further in the competition.News Now - Sport News