Chelmsford (England) : After making a clean-sweep of the ODI series, England Women scored an easy six-wicket victory over their South African counterparts in the opening T20 International here, with Katherine Brunt taking a four-wicket haul and Sophia Dunkley smashing a 39-ball 59 in an easy chase.
With two more games still to go, the hosts claimed victory in the multi-format series on Thursday. England are leading the multi-format series 10-2 with only four points at stake in the final two T20Is.
Brunt (4/15) became just the second English woman to take 100 T20I wickets, joining the recently-retired Anya Shrubsole (102) in the elite club.
Dunkley, who was promoted up the order to open the innings for the first time, was at her destructive best as the hosts chased down the Proteas’ 112-run target in just 15 overs.England won the toss and elected to bowl with Brunt making quick inroads as Lara Goodall was given out caught behind third ball.
Though the decision was overturned after reviews showed the bat had hit the ground, Goodall perished on the next ball, clean-bowled by Brunt.Brunt’s 100th T20I wicket came up soon with Proteas skipper Sune Luus’ stumps also uprooted as the tourist were off to a wobbly start.
Top South Africa batter Laura Wolvaardt hit her fourth T20I half-century (55 off 45 balls) before she perished to a Brunt delivery with a brilliant diving catch from Nat Sciver at deep midwicket. A modest target of 111/9 never looked out of reach for the visitors who cruised to victory with 30 balls to spare.
Katherine Brunt later said she had to overcome a form slump to really make an impact in the series. “I just try to keep ticking along. I was really keen to make an impact in this series the one-dayers and T20s and I’m really happy.
This year has been really difficult, finding form, but I seem to have come good at the right time.”Once you get older, you have a lot of doubt that creeps in, a few questions – people say things about you – and if you listen to it enough, you start to believe it,” she added.
Brief scores: South Africa Women 111/9 in 20 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 55; Katherine Brunt 4/15, Sophie Ecclestone 2/27) lost to England Women 114/4 in 15 overs (Sophia Dunkley 59; Ayabonga Khaka 3/13) by six wickets.