Friday, 19 February 2016

Another historic day for South Africa

Another day and another historic win for South Africa over England, this time in IT20 cricket. Set to make 157 to win South Africa were just 12 runs short with 16 balls remaining and seven wickets in the shed, when rain at Newlands brought the second IT20 to a premature end. South Africa had won by 17 runs on the D/L method. It was their first ever IT20 win over England at their 13th attempt.

It was no more than they deserved as they kept pace with the required run rate from the second over onwards. Dani Hazell's third over of the game went for 15 courtesy of three well-struck 4s from Dane van Niekerk, who went on to make a match-winning 63 off 43 balls. She was equally as harsh on Heather Knight and Jenny Gunn, but England must have rued dropping her on 7 and 22, Gunn and skipper Charlotte Edwards the culprits. When she was out stumped by Sarah Taylor off Rebecca Grundy, it was skipper Mignon du Preez (47 off 41 balls) that saw her side home, ensuring they stayed well ahead of the D/L score at the end of every over.

England's 156/6 was built around another superb innings from Sarah Taylor (66 off 52 balls). She came to the crease in the second over when Tammy Beaumont (1) flashed hard at a wide ball from Daniels, but only succeeded in looping it to Sune Luus at slip. It was her tenth score in a row in IT20s of 13 or below. After 21 IT20 innings she averages just 7.66 for England at a strike rate of below 65. She does not appear to be the answer at the top of the order.

Taylor got good support from Edwards, who looked in good touch for her 34 before trying to reverse lap Luus' first ball and being bowled off stump when she missed. After Amy Jones went early it was Heather Knight (29) who then helped Taylor add 63 in seven overs. She has been in fine form on the back of a very successful WBBL campaign, and the middle order seems to suit her style of play. She was replaced by the busy Dani Wyatt (17 off 12 balls) when she clipped Shabnim Ismail to Kapp on the deep midwicket boundary. Ismail was again the pick of the South African bowlers and conceded just three off the final over of the game as both Taylor and Gunn were run out attempting to make 1s into 2s.

So that levels the series 1-1 with the final game on Sunday. England will have been pleased to have been challenged, but worried that they have failed to meet the challenge. South Africa will gain a little more self-belief, a little more support and a little more respect. They have every chance of taking the series on Sunday. They made the semi-finals of the WWT20 last time it was played in 2014. It would be a brave man who would bet against them doing the same again in India in six weeks' time.

[scorecard here]



  1. I like the intensity in the England batting line up but we are losing too many wickets early on. Why not try Nat Sciver at #2.

  2. England have a few problems at the moment, losing too many early wickets is one of them but so long as we are not all out and have a long batting order, that one is surmountable. Fielding is another issue - but one that tends to come and go. England just need to try and eliminate those costly drops and misfields. However, the bowling is the real conundrum. Today Heather Knight opened the bowling. I know we are pace bowler light with Brunt injured, but this just goes to show how much we need more specialist pace bowlers in the team. Knight bowling first may seem like a good idea, if she keeps the rate down, but I wonder if we wouldn't be better off simply trying to get early wickets.

    In this new age of dynamic batting and higher run-rates, restricting scoring is no longer a reliable method of ultimately limiting the opposing team's score. It worked in the 1st T20 but failed today. If we get SA 2 or 3 down in the first few overs, that would really expose the soft underbelly. Instead, SA have reached scores of 101-1 in the 16th over and 98-1 in the 13th over before losing their second wicket. It is a familiar tale of woe to the recent ODIs. The opening bowling tactics need to be addressed - and early breakthroughs rather than restricting runs made a priority.

    England have plenty of bowling options but the options they are choosing to use aren't always working very well.

    It was obvious that the boundary markers were set far too close in for this match. I don't even think it increased the score much. Most of the fours I saw would have travelled a good 10 yards further at least, before being cut off. Many would have reached the full (men's) boundary. It was mainly the sixes - of which there are very few anyway - that would have failed to have reached the full boundary distance. The ICC / groundsmen need to agree new guidelines and start moving the boundaries back again - the high scores in this game demonstrated just that.

    And where is Nat Sciver? After making the journey out to SA it seems strange that she would not play after all. If England's injury problems persist, and with all the national women's teams getting stronger and the Old Guard's (Eng, Aus, NZ) advantage ebbing away rapidly, I'm starting to think that reaching the semis of the T20 World Cup should be seen as a very good achievement and not a minimum expectation.

  3. A few pointless facts and figures ....

    First victory by South Africa over England in a T20

    The highest score by England in a T20 that they have lost. The previous record was the 151 that England scored against Australia (in their 2nd ever T20).

    It’s the 2nd time England have passed 145 in successive T20 innings. Way back in the earlier days England scored 180 against South Africa (10/08/2007) and followed up with 172 against NZ (12/08/2007).

    Its the 2nd worst bowling performance in terms of run rate yielded. The 139.42 was eclipsed by the 144.33 that Australia managed in our 2nd ever T20.

    It’s the 4th time an England player has scored successive 50+ scores for England in T20s (Edwards has done it twice (64 then 60 and 62 then 75) and Taylor, before this tour, had done it once (69 then 67).

    DvN is the first player to score successive 50+ scores against England in T20s.

    The record of 4 England bowlers going for equal or over 9 runs an over remains intact. There were ‘just’ 3 in this match.

    Beaumont is not the 1st player to bat 21 times for England in T20s without getting a score over 30 – although she is the 1st batsman-only player to do it. Danni Hazell has batted 25 times for a maximum score of 18 but most of those innings have been down at 10 and 11. Tammy’s T20 career scores are 7, 3, 3*, 17*, 1, 15, 0, 3, 6, 2, 29*, 3, 11, 10, 13, 2, 0, 2, 6, 4, 1.
    That sequence of 2, 0, 2, 6, 4 and 1 is not the worst 6 innings sequence by an England in T20s. Katharine Brunt managed a sequence 3*, 0*, 1, 4, 0, 3 and Danni Hazell managed 4*, 1*, 1, 0, 6, 0.
    Laura Marsh managed a lovely 9-sequence: 2*, 4, 3*, 0, 2, 4, 3*, 6, 2. In terms of sequences where there are no not outs, then Tammy has the record.

    Of the 16 England players that have scored more than 100 runs in T20s, Beaumont has by far the worst scoring rate. It was 66.17 at the start of this series (worse now). Hazell at 84.74 is the only other player less 90.

    A few pointless observations .....

    England’s much vaunted strength in depth is looking shallow – it’s the ‘old guard’ delivering and I don’t see any breakthroughs. Whatever nurturing is going on its failing. Talented players are either not getting the chance or failing to live at this level.

    Beaumont is England’s best option as a T20 opener (otherwise why would she be selected).

    England have nothing like a settled XI or even batting order – a lot to resolve in the next few weeks.

    Looks like Australia are firm favourites for the T20 World Cup with England, New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa and India all have roughly equal chances. Throw in the odd upset by a minnow and its anyone’s guess what might happen. Should be both interesting and exciting.

    Over to you Mr Robinson – at least any flat lining England may have been engaged in since the heights of 2009 is not your fault but it is now your problem. Enjoy !

  4. South Africa were semi finalists in the 2014 T20 world cup and England fans knew that the Proteas would be more competitive in the 20/20 format.
    Coach Robinson is obviously trying things at the top and instructing the batters to be positive in the first six overs.
    This is something to be encouraged. How often have we criticised England for being negative.
    I think this tour has been great for England and for the new coach to see his team under pressure on the pitch as well as around him 24/7.
    Keep experimenting Robbo. You have three games before Bangladesh on St Partick's day if you include the two Chennai warm ups.
    No one will remember this T20 series if England win the 20/20 world cup in India. Australia are beatable so let's start believing.

  5. England's new batting approach is much more exciting to watch now. Personally I think I'd rather see higher scoring games and England having a go, even if we lose more often. It's hard to believe that the Australia T20 series with its 90-120 -ish scores was only a few months ago. I would argue we do have some batting breakthroughs of late - Elwiss, Wyatt and Jones have all showed what they can do at times. They just need to cement their places with more consistency. The lower order can also offer something now. We could try opening T20 with Jones as well as in ODIs. She could hardly do much worse than Beaumont.

    If only the bowling were as positive. We bowled far too short and legside in the last match. Mix that in with some dreadful full bungers, drops and mis-fields and it was a fairly lamentable display in the field. There are no breakthroughs here, that's for sure, unless you count Hazell finally being included regularly as something new. How she had been left out so often in the recent past is a mystery. Personally I'm still not fully convinced about Gunn or Grundy's bowling. We would be better off backing Farrant, or even Cross, which I never thought I'd say; or simply using Elwiss and Wyatt more because at the moment they are pretty much playing as batters.