Good win, but unconvincing… is my conclusion on today’s game. At half time my concern was about where/when/if Lee was going to bat – if they opened with her trouble, if not would be about whether we managed to strike, as she was their threatening weapon. Taylor made it look so simple, in the way that Federer/Tweedle/McIlroy make their sports look sooooo simple and effortless.
The day started with Edwards losing the toss, and being asked to bat. An unexpected opening (Kent) pair strode to the middle, but both fell relatively quickly (Beaumont caught behind, Edwards a top edge to short 3rd man) 23-2 , plus Jones (who had been starved of strike) trying to hit over the top for 0.
Taylor looked like herself, who has been somewhat missing in the last year, I had the same thought in Whangarei this time last year, although there was more than one ramp shot looking rather risky for the situation. She found a good partners in Knight, 39 run stand before Knight was c Daniels b Luus for 18 and then Elwiss, after Wyatt went for a quick one, Elwiss and Taylor putting on 27 (Elwiss c Chetty b van Niekerk 18) 118-6 and finally Shrubsole with a 21-tun stand taking England’s total to 147.
SA opened with their normal opening keeper Chetty, plus van Niekerk who has opened for them in this format for the last year or so and together they put on 96 for the first wicket, but in the 15th over, i.e. off 89 balls, so at just over a run a ball and not at the 8 an over that was required, van Niekerk c Wyatt b Shrubsole 52. England managed to keep Lee the new batsman quiet and then when she hit out was caught by an Amy Jones one-handed stunning catch on the cow corner boundary, after the wind took the ball away from her at the last moment. 101-2. Chetty carried on to fall lbw to Gunn in the last over, but none of the other batsmen were able to get past 6 and the run rate climbed past 10. At the point Chetty fell with 3 balls left, they needed 20.
Taylors ability to take the game away from the opposition won the day over the late entrance of Lee, but both have positives and learnings to take into the much higher profile game tomorrow – Newlands on many people’s favourite ground list, plus a double header, plus TV coverage here and at home.
The other note-worthy part of today was Sarah Taylor, keeping in a helmet. Many have commented or been concerned that she can keep up to a bowler of the pace of Anya Shrubsole, with only a cap on. Whilst visibility may be a concern, given the recent spate of injuries in the game, I welcome this for her continued availability, so long as it does not affect her physical and psychosocial ability to keep to the best of er ability….