COMMONWEALTH GAMES: England v Sri Lanka – Keep Calm & Capsey On

England opened their account at the Commonwealth Games with a win over Sri Lanka at Edgbaston, thanks to Alice Capsey, who kept a cool head while others around her were losing theirs, top-scoring with 44 off 45 balls as England overhauled Sri Lanka’s 106-9 with 17 balls to spare.

England’s afternoon started in chaos after their bags got misplaced on the way to the stadium, and things looked to be going from bad to worse when Capsey top-edged into her own face while warming up, sustaining a nasty black eye and causing a moment of panic as England contemplated having to reshuffle the lineup at the last minute. Fortunately for England, she came through a quick checkup and was able to play a crucial part in a chase which threatened a couple of times to ride off the rails.

It was a very similar innings to the one Capsey played in the inaugural Charlotte Edwards Cup Final at the Ageas Bowl last summer – instead of going on all-out attack, she held back and calmly managed her way through the run chase. After reverse-sweeping Ranasinghe for 4 in the 12th over, she didn’t hit another boundary for the rest of the game – taking 12 of the 14 remaining runs she scored in singles. Nat Sciver is usually Mrs Cool, Calm and Collected, but even she had to admit post-game that she didn’t know who was more composed out there in the middle – her or Capsey.

I wrote at the time of that innings in the CE Cup Final that in some ways it was a more important innings than her 50 in The Hundred at Lords, because it showed she could play more than one way, and today re-emphasised that. There will be times in the next decade when England need her to go out and smash four consecutive 4s, as she did against South Africa at Derby… but there will be times when they just need her to make sure they win the game, and that was the job she did today. There are no Player of the Match awards at the Commonwealth Games (for some reason it isn’t considered a Commonwealth Games “thing”) but if there were, she’d have surely won it in only her third appearance for her country.

It does cause a problem now for England though: who do they leave out when Heather Knight comes back? Capsey won the day for them today; Maia Bouchier has been solid; Sophia Dunkley has been explosive; Nat Sciver is obviously undroppable, as is Amy Jones, because there isn’t really another wicket keeping option, so… does Wyatt have to miss out? That would mean reshuffling the batting order… again… but might that be the answer, to have Capsey opening with Dunkley?

All of this excitement followed a slightly strange performance with the ball, which possibly sounds like a harsh judgement considering Sri Lanka finished 106-9. But it definitely wasn’t all smooth sailing.

Chucking Capsey in for an over during the powerplay was presumably a pre-ordained strategy, but I’m not sure she was in quite the right head-space still after the knock during the warm-up and she went for 11 in the one over she bowled.

Freya Kemp looked the most dangerous of England’s bowlers, and the first ball she bowled was a beauty, moving slightly off a perfectly upright seam to rearrange Chamari Athapaththu’s stumps. But as has been the case thus far on this hybrid pitch, the seamers have taken wickets but been a tad more expensive than the spinners, and this was possibly why Kemp only got two overs, going for 14.

Next up for England is South Africa… again, but it will be the game against New Zealand which is likely to give England their first real test of the summer. They had a good win today against South Africa, with Suzie Bates hitting her best international T20 score since 2018, and the 3rd best of her career.

Bates’ innings today contributed to a total of 167, which puts England’s efforts today into a bit of perspective. Yes, they were managing the chase, but they still ended up 5 down, and although Ecclestone is a very handy tail-ender as she showed the other day, she is still basically a tail-ender who we’d rather not be relying on to finish things off in a chase.

Still, a win is a win – England have got points on the board and now probably need to win only one more game to make the semi-finals. They say that all journeys begin with a small step… this was one – but there will need to be bigger steps to come if they want that gold medal at the end of it.

ENGLAND v SOUTH AFRICA: 3rd T20 – Sticks & Ecclestones Break South Africa’s Bones

England put South Africa out of their misery in another one-sided game at Derby, completing a clean-sweep of the white-ball series. It seems incredible now, but it was less than 6 months ago that England were going into a World Cup semi-final against South Africa as slight underdogs, having lost to them earlier in the tournament.

It has been a hard fall for the South Africans, and it just got a little bit harder with the confirmation this evening that Marizanne Kapp will not be returning for the Commonwealth Games – having reached the semi-finals of the 3 of the last 4 global tournaments, that’s suddenly looking like a very long shot in Birmingham.

The first ball was about as good as it got for South Africa today – a bit of a loosener from Nonkululeko Mlaba which Sophia Dunkley cut straight to point. Alice Capsey was carded to come in at 6, but told me afterwards she had been warned that she could be bumped up the order if an early wicket fell, and they don’t get much earlier than the second ball.

Having not batted in her debut on Saturday, Capsey admitted to a few nerves walking to the crease but they were soon put to rest, as she took a chainsaw to Masabata Klaas – carving her for four consecutive boundaries in the 2nd over.

Her innings was not a long one – she lasted until just the 5th over, facing 17 balls; but she scored 25 runs at a Strike Rate of 147, and put paid to any doubts that Alice Capsey is as ready as she’ll ever be for international cricket.

It wasn’t a perfect batting performance from England – they settled into a bit of drum-beat during the middle overs, and looked to be heading for around 140-145, until Sophie Ecclestone intervened. Ecclestone holds the record for the highest strike rate ever achieved in an ODI innings – 600, which consisted of 6 off 1 ball – so todays exhibition wasn’t entirely unprecedented, but it was stunning nonetheless – 33 off 12 balls, including 26 off the final over from Klaas, who conceded 62 runs in total from her 4 overs.

Thanks to Ecclestone’s efforts at the death, South Africa had a mountain to climb, and they never looked like climbing it. Issy Wong cleaned up Lara Goodall in the first over with a beautiful ball that shaped back in off the seam to clean bowl the left-hander.

(Though probably best not mention the fact that overall Wong went for 40 from her 4 overs – the joint-7th most runs conceded by an England bowler in T20s – and this in a game England won easily. Yes, the great Anya Shrubsole once conceded 50, but that was in the face of Meg Lanning’s onslaught at Chelmsford in the 2019 Ashes, not a dead-in-the-water South Africa. I still remain not entirely convinced that England can afford someone going at 10 an over in Twenty20 cricket if they want to compete with the very best, but… I said I probably shouldn’t mention it, so I won’t.)

The fall of Goodall brought Tazmin Brits to the crease for her first match of the English leg of this tour, and she produced a solid 59 off 57 balls, but South Africa didn’t need solid – they needed something spectacular, and no one could provide it. After the game, coach Hilton Moreeng acknowledged that he could have shuffled the order around, but with the series already lost he said he wanted to give the experience to the younger players coming through, and he’ll be pleased that Brits at least made something of it.

Meanwhile up in the media centre, debate raged about the Player of the T20 Series, which is selected by the written press. No one really stood out – Katherine Brunt and Sophia Dunkley had brilliant games in Chelmsford but it would have felt like one swallow making a summer; and while Ecclestone had bowled well, and given us those fireworks earlier in the evening, she wasn’t the leading wicket-taker! We prevaricated until the final ball of the final over, when Ecclestone bowled Chloe Tryon to pull level with Brunt on 5 wickets for the series, and suddenly the question was much easier to answer – Player of the Match and Player of the Series went to Ecclestone.

England will face tougher challenges in the next couple of weeks than South Africa have offered them – they’ll likely need to beat New Zealand, India and Australia if they want to win that gold medal at the Commonwealth Games – but overall this T20 series, with its new look squad, was about as good as warm-ups get and England will take a big bag of confidence with them as they travel back across the Midlands to join the party in Birmingham.

ENGLAND v SOUTH AFRICA: 2nd T20 – Capsey Capped

At about twenty-to-two this afternoon, a stylishly dressed young woman in a white ‘T’ and designer jeans slipped out of the media box at Worcester and headed down onto the pitch in front of the pavilion, where she was handed a royal-red cap by a member of England’s management team.

That woman was Tash Farrant, and the cap was for her South East Stars team-mate Alice Capsey, making her England debut at the age of 17, almost exactly two years to the day since The Editor™ had predicted during the 2020 London Cup match that Capsey would be opening the batting for England within 5 years!

A year later Capsey was scoring a fifty on her debut at Lords in The Hundred, and suddenly everyone was talking about the teenager from Surrey. The hype was getting real, but Heather Knight still seemed slightly sceptical, acknowledging her talent but saying she was “one for the future”.

Well apparently, the future is now – as of 2:30pm today, Alice Capsey is an England cricketer – something that few achieve, and none will ever be able to ever take away from her.

Capsey’s long England career… and believe me, it will be a long England career… began with a win, as South Africa once again folded, though they did put up their best white-ball performance of the tour, setting England a chase of 148, after Anneke Bosch and Lara Goodall set things up, putting on 102 for the first wicket.

England will be (or should be) slightly concerned that it took them 10 overs to get the breakthrough, and it was Capsey who got her name in the scorebook, as Goodall’s horribly mistimed attempt to play a Danni Wyatt-esque “inside out” ended up in the hands of Nat Sciver. Capsey so nearly had a second as well, when Katherine Brunt took a catch on the boundary, but failed to hold on to the attempt to throw it back to herself as she stepped over the rope.

The problem with South Africa’s T20 batting order at the moment is that although logically it makes sense for Laura Wolvaardt to come in lower down the order in this format, she’s so much better than everyone else, that every ball not faced by her feels like a ball wasted, so in a sense, the long opening partnership actually worked to England’s advantage, and ultimately 148 never really looked like enough, even though the record will state that England won with “just” 6 balls remaining.

In the chase, Sophia Dunkley went off at 90mph again – she might only have made 23 today, but remember it’s the Strike Rate England are looking at, and they got it once more at 153!

Danni Wyatt, on her way to a Player of the Match winning 39, was also going at over 150, which meant that even though England lost a few wickets later on, the result never seemed in doubt, with Maia Bouchier coming in at the end and producing the goods in a quite a pressured situation. (I’d hesitate to quite call it “high pressure” (and indeed have just deleted those very words) because South Africa were so bad in the field – though Sune Luus took probably the catch of the series, they were so bad otherwise that they ended up laughing at themselves, because… I guess… sometimes that’s all you can do when the gods aren’t looking your way!)

Again, there is a quick turn-around, with England travelling to across the midlands ahead of the final match in the series in Derby on Monday evening. I’d not be surprised to see Nat Sciver captaining again, with the status Heather Knight’s hip injury unclear (being “assessed and treated” according to England); and I really hope they will give Freya Kemp a game, perhaps resting Katherine Brunt, whose statement this week that she wanted to play “all eight” of the T20 matches in the next three weeks (the 3 South Africa matches, 3 Commonwealth Games group matches, plus the semi and final) looks like a challenge to the fates if I ever heard one! Especially with the T20 leg also now won, England can afford the opportunity to see what Kemp can do, and also push Capsey up the order to give her the chance with the bat she didn’t get today, maybe coming in at 3?

And then it is on to Birmingham. With Australia’s warm-ups in Ireland severely curtailed by rain, England might never have a better chance to take home that gold medal; and this is an exciting England team that might just take it.

ENGLAND v SOUTH AFRICA: 1st T20 – Hagia Sophia

The atmosphere at Chelmsford has occasionally felt a little flat of late, compared to days gone by, but a properly raucous near full-house turned out tonight to watch England take on South Africa, and were treated to a huge England win, driven by a powerful half-century from Sophia Dunkley.

The Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”) was an enormous church built by the Emperor Justinian in what was then Constantinople – now Istanbul – in the 6th century. England’s own “Hagia Sophia” might have been built on a Thursday night in Chelmsford in 2022, but it was no less impressive.

(Well… okay… maybe a bit less impressive – we are talking about one of the most imposing buildings of the pre-modern world here, which still stands 1,500 years later (it is now a mosque) but… Dunks’ innings was still pretty good!)

Dunks has been promoted to replace Tammy Beaumont at the top of the order in T20s, with the aim of really putting the “power” in “powerplay”, and at the first time of asking it came off big-time. Beaumont’s Strike Rate opening in T20s has veered all over the place in the last year or so – we’ve seen some big performances, not least her 97 of 79 balls (a Strike Rate of 149) versus New Zealand at this very ground last summer; but we’ve also seen too many poor ones, such as the 3 off 13 balls (a Strike Rate of 27) against the same opponents at Taunton.

Dunkley’s new role is to match Beaumont’s best performances more consistently than Beaumont herself was doing, and a part of that will be to ensure that she is striking at over 100 from the very first over, so she doesn’t end up chewing-through 13 balls for 3. And she did just that, hitting Shabnim Ismail for 9 off the first over to set the tone for England’s chase. She then got down the other end and handed out the same treatment to Masabata Klaas, putting her on 18 off 10 balls at the end of the 2nd over.

Despite Ayabonga Khaka – the pick of the South African attack by about a million miles – pulling things back, taking 2 wickets for 5 from her two powerplay overs, England still finished the powerplay well ahead of where South Africa had been, to set them up for the win.

Dunkley took a few risks – you have to, if you are going to play like that – and eventually perished caught on the boundary, going for another six; but it was proper “entertainment” for the delighted crowd, and the kind of cricket England will need to play if they are to have a shot of beating Australia and winning the Commonwealth Games.

It helped that they weren’t chasing a big total, as South Africa imploded again, with only opener Anneke Bosch and the ever-dependable Laura Wolvaardt reaching double-figures.

Katherine Brunt looks rejuvenated opening the bowling – perhaps released from the pressures by knowing this is her swansong summer? Neither Goodall nor Luus did themselves any favours with the shots they played, but you still have to hit the stumps, and Katherine Brunt did for both of them, to bring up her 100th international wicket in this format.

Issy Wong also sent-down the best couple of overs she’s bowled in an England shirt during the powerplay, keeping it full and sharp – an approach that will be much more effective long-term against the really top batters, than the short plonk she sometimes offers up when she feels she “needs” to make something happen.

With these teams going again in Worcester on Saturday, and only a long travel-day in between, England might be looking to rest some key players, especially with the multi-format series now won. So we could see Capsey perhaps coming in for Knight, and Davies for Brunt. I’d also like to see Kemp given a run out in one of these matches, though perhaps not until the 3rd and final game in Derby.

The opening partnership will no doubt remain the same, and although I’d like to see Capsey batting at 3, Bryony Smith needs another shot there in Worcester. Smith looked nervous and out-of-sorts today, but I have the same confidence in her that I had in Emma Lamb, that she will come good, albeit in quite a different role, which will be to do what she does so regularly in domestic cricket – hit the ball hard, and hopefully finish up with 30 off 20 balls more often than she finishes with 2 off 7.


Five years ago, all-but to the day, South Africa walked out onto this ground at Leicester to take on the West Indies in the 2017 World Cup – bowling them out for 48, before knocking off the chase in under 7 overs. Perhaps Sune Luus had that day in mind when she opted to put England in, having won the toss on one of the hottest days in recorded history in this country.

It was certainly a decision that otherwise looked baffling at the time, and even more so in retrospect, as England posted 371 – their 5th biggest total of all time, falling just 8 short of their highest ever – 378 against Pakistan on tiny boundaries at Worcester in 2016.

Tammy Beaumont produced the perfect riposte to being dropped from the T20 squad for the Commonwealth Games, hitting 119 off 107 balls. Beaumont now sits joint-3rd in the all-time list for hundreds in women’s ODIs with 9, level with Charlotte Edwards, who played almost twice as many matches to achieve that. It was therefore somewhat appropriate that it was Edwards – Beaumont’s former county captain at Kent – who prior to play today presented her with a special commemorative cap to mark her 200th appearance for England.

Beaumont wouldn’t be human if she wasn’t bitterly disappointed to miss out on the Commonwealths, having been such a consistent performer for England over the past few years, but she showed today that she still has plenty of punch left in her, and South Africa took the full force of the blow.

With Emma Lamb passing 50 for the 3rd time in the series, and Sophia Dunkley and Heather Knight also making half-centuries, England looked like the record score was well within their sights, especially after Danni Wyatt had come in and blasted 33 off 14 balls. When Amy Jones was dismissed with 2½ overs left, the stage was surely set to send Issy Wong in to blast the runs they needed; but England’s batting order is apparently a sacred text and instead we were left with a little bit of an anti-climax, with just 4 runs coming from the final over. Does it matter? Of course not! But would it nonetheless have been fun to get the record? Call me old fashioned but… yes!

Once again, South Africa started positively in the chase, with Laura Wolvaardt punishing anything slightly wayward. And there was quite a lot of “slightly wayward” up top from England, on a day which seemed to get hotter and hotter as it wore on.

South Africa kept pace with England for 15 overs, thanks to Wolvaardt, but as soon as she left the fray, LBW trying to sweep a lovely little delivery from Charlie Dean, South Africa started to fall behind. There was a brief resurgence for South Africa when Kapp and Tryon went on the attack in the middle overs, but it wasn’t enough to really worry England – they’d have needed to keep going at the rate they were going for 20 more overs, and that just wasn’t going to happen. Both Alice Davidson-Richards and Emma Lamb bagged maiden ODI wickets, both finishing with 3fers, as did Dean; while Issy Wong joined the party with the perfect fast bowler’s wicket to flatten Shabnim Ismail’s stumps right at the end.

The written press were unanimous in naming Emma Lamb player of the ODI series, in her first full series for England. It was obviously for her batting, but England will be particularly pleased with her contribution with the ball – if she can regularly bowl 6 or 7 overs going forwards, it takes a lot of pressure off Nat Sciver, and gives England that bit more flexibility with Heather Knight so reluctant to bowl herself.

Lamb will not be part of the next England team we see, with a new look for the T20 series ahead of the Comm Games; but no doubt she will be back for the India series in September.

On a day when we’ve seen debate about whether the top men can play all 3 formats, with the retirement of Ben Stokes from ODIs, perhaps it is inevitable that we’ll start to see more format-based teams in the women’s game going forwards too? The T20 leg of this series is going to be very interesting in that respect, and it begins in Chelmsford on Thursday – we’ll see you there!

RHF TROPHY: Sparks v Diamonds – Diamond Lights

It is a measure of how far we’ve come in a pretty short space of time that in the “Good Old Days” of the Women’s County Championship… 3 long years ago… 200 runs would get you maximum bonus points. Now it is minimum expectation for a half-decent performance – Stars had an absolute nightmare in one of today’s other games (albeit missing key players to a Commonwealth Games photoshoot) and still got to 198!

So Sparks will have been disappointed to post just 214 against Diamonds on a nicely backed pitch at Worcester. The boundaries were long – only a yard and a half in from those used by the men in the T20 blast – and the ball held up in the sandy outfield; but the other side of that coin was plenty of empty pockets for running ones and twos which Sparks failed to take advantage of for much of their innings.

Eve Jones was the mainstay of the Sparks innings, compiling 91, but she took a long time to get going, taking nearly 50 balls to notch-up her first 20 runs, and only real stepping things up once she’d passed 50. That’s okay if the batter at the other end is going great guns, but Steph Butler, Thea Brookes and Ami Campbell chewed up 97 balls between them, scoring only 42 runs – a Strike Rate of under 45. They could… and should… have done better.

Off-spinner Emma Marlow was the pick of the Diamonds bowling, going for just 13 from 5 overs in the powerplay, and also picking up a couple of wickets towards the back-end of the innings to finish with 2-37 off 10.

Lauren Winfield-Hill has more form than a second hand car dealer in a 70s cop drama right now, and she came out to show the Sparks how they could have played on this track.

The key shot which Winfield-Hill played in her innings of 50 from 55 balls wasn’t any of the eight 4s, but a bunt to cover-point – it went straight to the fielder, but it was played delicately enough for Winfield-Hill to run a sharp single.

Those sharp singles were the runs that Sparks couldn’t find, and with Holly Armitage (60 off 63) and Sterre Kalis (46 off 57) following Winfield-Hill’s example, Diamonds brought up a comfortable victory inside 40 overs.

Sparks will be disappointed to have lost this game – they are 1 from 3 now – but they have got the fixture list on their side, with Thunder, Lightning and Sunrisers all to come, so a top 3 finish is still very much in their own hands; but they will need to step up their intent with the bat a little bit if they want to be challenging for the title at Lords in September.

NEWS: Alice Capsey, Freya Kemp And Bryony Smith In Commonwealth Games Squad As England Opt For Youth Over Experience

England have made the bold decision to opt for youthful “aggression” over experience in the selection of their squad for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, which includes 17-year-olds Alice Capsey and Freya Kemp, and a recall for Bryony Smith, but omits Tammy Beaumont.

“We feel like it’s our best squad,” Lisa Keightley said. “We want to be quite aggressive up top, and the players that we’ve picked we think give us options to do that.”

Kemp, who made her debut for Southern Vipers a matter of weeks ago, offers a left-arm pace option, but has also shown herself capable of being explosive with the bat, as she proved just last Saturday for Vipers against Stars at Hove.

Capsey, meanwhile, has been picked at a point when she is just starting to regain some form in domestic cricket, but Keightley said that she felt the teenager was now ready to make the step up to internationals.

“It’s always great to get on a bandwagon really early but I think she’s matured,” she said. “Going over to Australia and seeing her travel and play a little bit under the radar – her time is now. She gives us lots of options – she can float in the batting order and tends to be able to move quite freely with a good strike rate in doing that.”

Bryony Smith, Keightley suggested, could play a similar role – either as an opener or at no.6 or 7, “hitting boundaries at the back-end” – while both of course also offer England some further options in terms of their off-spin bowling.

Freya Davies, meanwhile, makes it back into the side after being omitted from the ODI squad against South Africa – so it’s possible that England have realised that having Nat Sciver open the bowling and go at 7 or 8 an over isn’t actually ideal! “T20 cricket, she’s really skilled,” Keightley said. “At the back end of an innings she generally is quite a good defensive bowler. We know what she can do when teams are coming at her, it’s being able to take those wickets up front.”

The omission of Beaumont, who has been one of England’s most successful players in recent years, comes as a big shock to everyone; but Keightley was firm in her belief that Beaumont is not, as it stands, one of England’s best players in the 20-over format:

“In 50-over cricket you can’t match Tammy’s record, it speaks for itself. In T20 I think there’s still some room for growth and improvement there, and now it’s up to her to go away and do it,” she said.

The full squad is below:

  • Heather Knight (Western Storm, captain)
  • Maia Bouchier (Southern Vipers)
  • Katherine Brunt (Northern Diamonds)
  • Alice Capsey (South East Stars)
  • Kate Cross (Thunder)
  • Freya Davies (South East Stars)
  • Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
  • Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
  • Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)
  • Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
  • Freya Kemp (Southern Vipers)
  • Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds)
  • Bryony Smith (South East Stars)
  • Issy Wong (Central Sparks)
  • Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)

ENGLAND v SOUTH AFRICA: 2nd ODI – South Africa Feel The (So)phia

Another day… another ODI… another maiden hundred, as Sophia Dunkley clocked-up her first international ton – carrying England to a massive 337 to beat South Africa by 114 runs.

England got off to a great start with the biggest opening partnership in an ODI since the pandemic – 127 – surpassing the 95 Lauren Winfield-Hill and Tammy Beaumont put on v New Zealand last September, as both Beaumont and Emma Lamb passed 50.

The big opening partnership meant that Sophia Dunkley didn’t get to the middle until the 22nd over, but she batted for the remainder of the innings, only falling on the very last ball for 107 off 93.

Dunkley actually started quite quietly – making her first 25 runs at a Strike Rate of 64, as England went into their shells a bit between overs 20-30, as the heat of the afternoon bore down on Bristol.

Then she and Nat Sciver began to accelerate, before Dunkley exploded past 50, making runs 50-75 at a Strike Rate of over 200, smashing Shabnim Ismail for 16 off an over, including two 6s to opposite ends of the ground – the second a late cut over backward point that will go down as one of the shots of the summer. South Africa had been struggling without Ismail in this series so far, but today they struggled even with her, though she was the most economical of their quicks, going for “just” 64 off 10 overs.

The 300 was on at that point. It wasn’t assured, but with wickets in hand, England should have got well past 300, and indeed they did – going at an Australia-esque 10.5 an over in the death overs to reach 337. No one has ever chased anything like that in a women’s ODI, and South Africa weren’t going to challenge it today.

South Africa started off convincingly enough, and were ahead of the game at the end of the powerplay – no wickets down, and with Laura Wolvaardt on her way to yet another ODI 50.

Wolvaardt has passed 50 over 30 times now in ODIs, but only gone on to make 100 on 3 of those occasions. Contrast with Tammy Beaumont, who has passed 50 just 25 times, but converted 8 of those to a 100. It is a lot to ask Wolvaardt to carry the team, but unless she does, South Africa are struggling with the bat, and the news today that Dane van Niekerk is not going to be able to make it back to fitness for the Commonwealth Games only makes things bleaker for South African fans.

Once Wolvaardt was out, there was only one way the match was going to go, despite more heroics from Marizanne Kapp, as England’s bowlers took advantage to reel-in the wickets.

Bell bowled really well up-top, with no reward; but Nat Sciver struggled again opening the bowling at the other end, going for 8 an over, having gone at 7 in the same phase in the 1st ODI. England’s batting line-up is surely strong enough to be able to field a “proper” 5th bowler, and they really could have done with a Freya Davies out there today. South Africa didn’t make them pay, but Australia would have done.

Issy Wong made the batters uncomfortable with some short stuff, and picked up 3 wickets, but it was Charlie Dean who really cleaned-up, nagging her way to 4-53 from her 10 overs. She also took one of the most spectacular crowd-catches you’ll ever see off her own bowling – a rolling dive to her left which deserved a definite “10” for artistic merit!

Everyone’s thoughts will now turn to the T20 leg of the series, leading into the Commonwealth Games, with England’s squad being announced tomorrow; but there’s still one ODI to go, and England will be looking for a clean sweep. It is forecast to be one of the hottest days England has ever seen next Monday. It could be even hotter for South Africa.