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.