With the ODI series against India finishing in rather damp fashion at Lord's on Monday, attention now shifts to the shortest format of the game as South Africa slot in three T20s against England, before moving on to three more against Ireland in Solihull.
First the South Africans have two warm-up games against the England Academy at Garon Park in Southend on 29th (2.00pm) and 30th August (10.30am) and I expect the Proteas to be a strong team. Their cricket has come a long way in the last couple of years, including reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals earlier this year (having beaten New Zealand in their group match), when they were a little overawed by the occasion, losing comfortably to England. CSA has also just announced that the number of contracted players on the books is now 14, up from six last year. They are a "professional" outfit.
T20 suits the hard-hitting Saffers with the likes of Lee, du Preez, van Niekerk, Tryon and Luus, and they have some good wicket-taking bowlers in opening quicks Ismail and Daniels, and spinners van Niekerk and Luus. They have absolutely nothing to lose in the series against England and I expect them to acquit themselves very well, and they may even win the series.
As for England T20 is not their best format. The importance of their top order batsmen seems to dictate that they do not go too hard at the ball in the first 10-15 overs in the hope that they can build momentum in the last five. But without the big boundary hitters this approach simply does not work. It will be interesting to see the batting line-up that takes the field in the first T20 at Chelmsford next Monday evening. In the squad England have the following batsmen - Beaumont, Edwards, Greenway, Gunn, Jones, Knight, Sciver, Taylor, Winfield, and Wyatt, but only seven, or possibly eight at a push (with Gunn, Knight and Sciver making up 8 overs between them) can play. If you add Edwards, Taylor and Greenway (despite her lack of current form) to the three all-rounders then it is two from Beaumont, Jones, Winfield and Wyatt.
My line-up, in batting order, would be Winfield, Knight, Taylor, Edwards, Sciver, Greenway, Wyatt, Gunn, Hazell, Brunt, Shrubsole, with Winfield being given free-reign to go at the ball from the outset and Sciver and Wyatt being given similar instructions further down the order. However that does not mean that they should go in and slog, but just be prepared to put their hands through the ball and not be afraid to go aerial. It would be good to see a much more positive batting performance from England, but with positivity comes risk. It is all in the execution.
All three games are going to be live on Sky and will be covered on the radio by BBC TMS. Better still get down and watch the games for real (http://www.ecb.co.uk/tickets/england-women-tickets).
The fixtures are :-
Mon 1st Sept England v South Africa - Chelmsford 6.30pm
Wed 3rd Sept England v South Africa - Northampton 6.30pm
Sun 7th Sept England v South Africa - Egbaston 10.30am