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.

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

  1. England batted very nicely and consistently all the way through. It was good to see Tammy find a bit of form again, she was starting to look a bit more fluent again at times. Lamb was brilliant again, she’s had a great start and looks right at home. Sciver very good once more and Dunkley’s innings was pure magic. A couple of those sixes were incredible shots.

    Bell is doing well opening up the bowling because she’s been quite hard for the opposition batters to get away and gets so much swing you feel a wicket is never far away. The same can’t be said for Sciver – she’s been far too expensive with some wayward deliveries which gave SA such a good start. Plus, you must start giving Issy more credit Syd – she’s been brilliant since she came into the side. A breath of fresh air.

    SA were very sloppy after their excellent start. After they were 87-0, a series of very soft, tame dismissals followed which kept happening throughout the rest of the innings. Not entirely sure what caused the sudden change of direction, but it was in no small part due to the introduction of the spinners. Dean, in particular, looked like she was playing a different game and SA had not much clue about how to take her on. Not sure if England will make many more changes for the last match now that they’ve picked Bell and Wong, might as well continue with them.

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