The Proteas Women kept a spot in the tri-nations final on the cards with a six-wicket win over the England Women.
England elected to bat first and would have been eyeing another run-fest against the embattled Proteas Women bowling lineup. Having had a few days off to take stock of their performance in the double-header, a resurgent Proteas side came back powerfully and kept a lid on the England innings.
Raisibe Ntozakhe removed Danielle Wyatt in the first over, and Shabnim Ismail had Sarah Taylor caught by Dane van Niekerk for 20 off 12 balls. When Zintle Mali, playing only her third T20I, had Natalie Sciver caught by Masabata Klaas for 16 off 16 balls, the England innings had ground to a relative halt, with the score 78-3 in the 12th over.
Tammy Beaumont was not to be denied, playing another strong hand to score 71 off 59 balls, with eight fours, before Ismail castled her with seven balls of the innings remaining.
Skipper Heather Knight hit out lustily to end undefeated on 35 off 20 balls, including six fours, but the Proteas had done superbly to restrict their hosts to 160-5 off their 20 overs and would have headed into the pavilion with a spring in their step.
Mali recorded her career-best figures of 2-39 off her four overs, backed up by super bowling from Ismail (2-27), Ntozakhe (1-20) and Van Niekerk (0-21). The only bowler to take some tap was Marizanne Kapp, who went for 12.75 runs an over and wasn’t able to snare a wicket.
Lizelle Lee began the Proteas innings in dominant fashion, hammering six sixes and four fours on her way to 68 off 37 balls (S/R 183.78), sharing a 103-run partnership with Sune Luus. Van Niekerk then teamed up with Luus in a quickfire stand of 32, with the skipper scoring 25 of those runs off just 19 balls.
Luus had yet to make double figures on this English tour, but she made up for that by playing a steady hand in partnership with Lee and Van Niekerk.
Entering the final over, the Proteas needed nine runs to win with six wickets in hand and Luus powered her side to victory, hitting the first ball from Katherine Brunt for four to reach her half-century. She sent the next ball to the boundary again for another four and then smashed the third ball for six to end the match in grand style. Luus ended undefeated on 63 off 52 balls, with six fours and two sixes.
The victory was sweet revenge for the Proteas after three losses on the trot against England, and it will fuel their confidence as they push for a place in the final.
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