Friday, 12 February 2016

South Africa claim epic victory

Having won the first ODI comfortably England probably thought that their 262/9 would be more than enough to get them another two ICCWC points and an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match ODI series.

Even as the Proteas got themselves to 113/0 with half-centuries for 16 year old Laura Wolvaart (55) and the much more experienced Trisha Chetty (66), England probably still felt in control as nearly 28 overs had been used up getting there. True Katherine Brunt had had to leave the pitch with a back spasm, which meant England were down to five bowlers, but the run rate was climbing to nearly seven an over from an original 5.26 and the spin of Dani Hazell and Heather Knight seemed to be doing the job for England. When Wolvaart departed, followed shortly afterwards by Chetty and then skipper Du Preez, South Africa were 134/3 with only 17 overs left to play. Initially Lizelle Lee (69 from 56) and Marizanne Kapp (44 from 34) seemed unable to break the shackles and the required run rate rose to 9.5 with 11 overs left. But in the 40th over (the last in the batting powerplay) Lee smashed three consecutive 4s off Jenny Gunn, taking 14 off of the over. The chase was on. Danni Wyatt's next went for 10 more; Shrubsole took the next and also went for 10; Knight's next for 12; Gunn's next seven and the 45th over of the game from Knight 18 (including four 4s from Kapp). South Africa suddenly needed just 33 from the last six overs. The game for England was gone. Both Kapp and Lee perished in the final three overs, but their beautifully paced 123 run partnership allowed South Africa to record their first win over England in the last 15 ODI games between the two sides. And they thoroughly deserved it.

As for England Charlotte Edwards may well rue her choice to bat first on a wicket that Mignon Du Preez was not unhappy to bowl on. It is Edwards' way to like runs on the board, but at 16/3 in the 7th over England made a horrible start. Winfield and Jones both edged behind, and Sarah Taylor on her 100th ODI appearance was dropped by keeper Chetty first ball, only to be bowled next ball by the impressive Ismail (3/32). But to their credit England built a decent score based on Knight's 61, Edwards 45 and Wyatt's 27 ball 40, and an excellent finish from the tail taking 51 off the last five overs despite being down to their last pair for the last four overs. And it could have been more had it not been for three screaming catches from Sune Luus, Wolvaart and Du Preez. But perhaps those last few overs showed what a good pitch this had now become.

The win takes South Africa back above England in the ICCWC table (see here) with 13 points to England's 11. The final game of the series is on Sunday. England could well be without the injured Brunt, for whom Cross is likely to come in. If the management are true to their word then no other changes are likely, and neither is a change in style. South Africa will truly believe they can win the series. England have a fight on their hands and it will be interesting to see how they respond.

[full scorecard here]



  1. Congratulations to South Africa on what must be one of their best ever ODI victories.
    A few records or near records from today.
    England have only twice failed to defend a higher total than 262 – in both cases it was against Australia and both scores were 268.
    There have been only 3 cases of England scoring more than 262 and losing (the two above and one against NZ when just failing to chase 272).
    England’s highest 10th wicket partnership in an ODI. The 41 beats the previous of 31 from Colvin and Shrubsole against Australia on 8/2/13.
    South Africa’s highest ODI score against England – previous highest was 254 on 17/08/1997.
    A record probably never to be repeated is that each of England’s first 6 batsmen scored at less than a run a ball and each of 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 scored at more than a run a ball.
    The 109 runs contributed by batsmen 7 through to 11 is, amazingly, not the highest England have managed. The record (of 127) goes to Morgan (13), Askew (68), Rainford-Brent (7), Guha (26) and Colvin (13). After this next highest is 96.
    Perhaps surprisingly Hazell’s 20 at No 11 didn’t quite beat Lucy Pearson’s 22 from many years ago.

  2. Well first of all congratulations to SA on a expertly judged and executed run chase. It was a great victory coming from 134/3 in the 33rd over, and 160/3 after 40 overs, needing 103 runs off 66 balls.

    After losing those early wickets and being 16/3, England's middle and lower order performed admirably to make a very decent 262/9. In the end, it seemed like a well-judged effort. OK, so maybe we could have got another 20 runs or so with a better start, but make no mistake - this was a hefty chase which was set, by any standard. And all the records and history were against SA getting over the line with more than an over to spare.

    And strangely I don't feel bad about it. This wasn't another loss due to stodgy batting - instead, the bowling let us down this time. But it was a mistake to bat first. Having won the first game bowling first, England should have opted for a repeat this time around.

    This was a remarkable match for the SA chase in many ways. Here are some stats that suggest it would probably not happen the way it did:

    Marizanne Kapp: Last scores before today's 44 (34 balls): 4*, 12, 21, 12, 0, 7, 0. She was not in any form with the bat.

    SA's last ODI totals before today's 265: 139/7 (lost), 141/5 (won), 118/8 (w), 186/8 (l), 184/6 (w), 159/9 (l), 134/7 (w), 156/5 (w), 196 (l). That's a record of 5 wins from 9 games, never once reaching 200, let alone 262 (admittedly they were chasing some low totals in that run, but that just goes to show that their success is based on bowling performances rather than batting). And so having reached over 260 I was confident England would be able to defend that.

    No, siree. A lack of early wickets and a disappointing period in the last 10 overs or so, with expensive figures from Knight, Gunn and Shrubsole in particular, meant that SA were able to cruise home in the end.

    England have to look at their opening bowling tactics, and need more wicket takers rather than trying to get wickets through run rate pressure. This has been a common theme of late and it's starting to affect results. Alarm bells should be ringing in Robinson's ears over England's ODI form, and failing to reach the top 4 spots in the ICC ODI Champoinship is now a real possibility, particularly if it doesn't go our way on Sunday.

    The stats are telling. In our last 4 ODIs, England have only taken the first 2 wickets at the following scores: 2-103 (23.1 ovs), 2-87 (26.4), 2-119 (30.3), 2-134 (32.3). This puts our side at a disadvantage because in each case, the opposition is able to get about 100 runs, or reach about halfway through their innings, before they are 2 down; and thus are able to throw the bat with abandon as they progress towards the end. It should then come as no surprise to hear that we lost 3 out of 4 of those matches. Run rate pressure is quickly becoming not enough, with the faster run rates starting to come into the game. We need more pace bowlers, bowling quick and straight for when Brunt or Shrubsole have an off day or injury. Cross coming back doesn't fill me with confidence, given her lean run of form since last summer.

    1. Opposition's 2nd wicket (if there was one) has fallen at the following scores in England last 52 ODIs (most recent first): 134, 119, 87, 103, 25, 47, 15, 219, 19, 158, 43, 13, 64, 134, 33, 2, 13, 53, 2, 24, 39, 64, 76, 145, 5, 10, 4, 29, 142, 1, 54, 18, 6, 127, 63, 50, 48, 78, 84, 155, 1, 59, 9, 15, 16, 215, 56, 60, 74, 22, 26, 64

      Compare the most recent matches in blocks of 10 and it does seem to suggest James as a point. ODI301 to ODI310 : average 92.6, ODI291 to ODI300 : average 51.5, ODI281 to ODI290 : average 53.8

      The block ODI281-ODI290 contained 4 matches against Aus, NZ or SA
      The block ODI291-ODI300 contained 5 matches against Aus, NZ or SA
      The block ODI301-ODI310 contained 10 matches against Aus, NZ or SA
      The reader will have to make a judgement about quality of opposition affecting the statistics.

      Over all 310 ODIs the worse period was between about 100th and 200th ODI. Since then the trend has been downwards.