With the series level at 1-1 going into today’s 3rd ODI at Canterbury, England have a ninth straight bilateral series win against South Africa in their sights, while the Proteas are eyeing a historic first series win vs England.
Bilateral ODI series between England & South Africa:
ENG 2-1 SA, 1997 in England
ENG 3-2 SA, 2000 in England
ENG 2-1 SA, 2003 in England
ENG 4-1 SA, 2004 in South Africa
ENG 2-0 SA, 2005 in South Africa
ENG 4-0 SA, 2008 in England
ENG 3-0 SA, 2011 in South Africa
ENG 2-1 SA, 2016 in South Africa
ENG 1-1 SA, 2018 in England*
This will be the first women’s ODI to be played at Canterbury since 6th August 2008. South Africa were England’s opponent on that occasion too, and will now have taken part in three of the five women’s ODIs played at the St. Lawrence Ground.
Women’s ODIs at Canterbury:
Australia bt England by 87 runs, 1st August 1976
England bt Australia by 6 wickets, 25th July 1987
South Africa bt England by 1 wicket, 25th June 2000
England bt South Africa by 121 runs, 6th August 2008
None of the South African XI that turned out in 2008 have made this series, whereas there are three members of the England lineup from 2008 who could feature today – Katherine Brunt, Jenny Gunn and Sarah Taylor.
Taylor is set to play her 108th match as designated wicket-keeper today, which would equal the women’s ODI record, currently held by her predecessor as England keeper, Jane Smit.
Her counterpart, Lizelle Lee may not have impressed with the gloves in this series, but her 209 runs are already the most scored for South Africa in a three-match ODI series.
60 more runs will give Lee the national record for a bilateral series of any length. The outright record for a three-match women’s ODI series (342) is held jointly by Tammy Beaumont (vs Pakistan in 2016) and Amelia Kerr, thanks to her record breaking exploits in Ireland this week.
Most runs for South Africa in a bilateral ODI series:
268 L Lee v BAN, 2017 (5 ODIs)
244 L Lee v BAN, 2018 (5 ODIs)
232 M du Preez v NZ, 2016 (7 ODIs)
222 D van Niekerk v NZ, 2016 (7 ODIs)
215 L Wolvaardt v IRE, 2016 (4 ODIs)
209 L Lee v ENG, 2018*
Since the start of 2016, England and South Africa have been among the the most difficult sides to make women’s ODI centuries against, which makes Beaumont (101), Taylor (118) & Lee’s (117) efforts at Hove all the more remarkable.
Since the start of 2016, top-seven batters (there has never been a women’s ODI century made batting below #7) have averaged a century once every 60.3 innings vs South Africa, and just once every 215 innings vs England. Lee’s innings makes the conversion rate against England in that time 2.78%.
As well as being the first ODI century for South Africa vs England, Lee’s innings made her the first ODI centurion for any side against England since Meg Lanning made 104 in the 2nd Ashes ODI at Bristol on 23rd July 2015.
There may be some concern for South Africa though, that they are over-reliant on Lee and big-hitting Chloe Tryon to maintain a competitive run-rate.
At Hove, Tryon (169.23) and Lee (109.34) were the only South Africans to strike at over 100. Marizanne Kapp (96.66) was the only one of the remaining nine South African batters with a match strike rate over 60. By contrast, Amy Jones (76.31) and Tammy Beaumont (92.66), were the only English batters who didn’t strike at over 100 at Hove.
South Africa 2nd ODI at Hove:
Lee & Tryon 161 runs off 133 balls at 7.26 rpo (16×4, 9×6)
Rest of South Africa 91 runs off 167 balls at 3.27 rpo (4×4, 1×6)
Even during their comfortable 5-0 whitewash of Bangladesh last month, Tryon (141.05) and Lee (80.52) were the only players to maintain series strike rates over 80 (min. 25 BF).
The average batting SR in women’s ODIs since the start of 2016 has been 69.30. Fourteen English players have scored above that rate during that time, while only five South Africans have done the same.
South Africa’s vaunted pace attack means it’s not a case of nullify Lee & Tryon and win the game, but that would clearly be a big step in the right direction. Unfortunately for England, they appear to be getting worse at containing the duo, rather than better.
Lee’s five 50+ scores in her last six innings vs England (including the two highest scores for South Africa vs England in the last two) are well documented, but Tryon too has overcome a less than stellar start, and become increasingly dangerous.
Tryon’s first four ODI innings vs England resulted in four ducks, and she didn’t reach double figures against England until her 7th ODI against them, at Bristol during the World Cup. Tryon followed her 54 (26) on that day with 44 (26), two innings later, at Hove on Tuesday.
Among batters with 1,000+ ODI career runs there is only one woman with a higher SR than Tryon (97.43), England’s Natalie Sciver (101.66).
Lee (54) and Tryon (40) have hit the most sixes in women’s ODIs since the start of 2016, perhaps to be expected given South Africa have played so many more fixtures than any other side. Even when measuring in terms of balls faced per six hit, they still top the charts.
While England are yet to uncover an individual equivalent to Tryon, Lee or New Zealand’s Sophie Devine, as a batting unit, they have dramatically improved at clearing the ropes since Mark Robinson took charge.
In the period after the 2013 World Cup until the end of 2015 (the era during which Paul Shaw was England’s Head of Performance), England hit just six ODI sixes. The rate at which they hit them (one six every 883 balls faced) was 500 balls worse than the average rate in women’s ODIs for the time-frame (once every 383).
Since the start of 2016, when Robinson’s tenure began, the average rate in ODIs has virtually doubled (one six every 192 balls faced). England have not just kept up with the pace, but been among the pace-setters. Only South Africa (one six every 119 balls faced) have hit sixes more regularly than England (139).
An indication of how much of this change has been down to mindset and fitness/training, lies in the fact that all twelve English players who have hit sixes in the Robinson-era debuted before he took charge.
Landmarks to look out for:
Mignon du Preez needs 66 runs to become the first South African woman to 3,000 ODI runs.
Marizanne Kapp is two wickets away from becoming the second South African, and 9th woman overall to score 1,000+ runs & take 100+ wickets in ODIs.
Laura Wolvaardt needs one more half-century to break the record for most 50+ women’s ODI scores made as a teenager. She currently shares the record with Stafanie Taylor, who began her career with eleven 50+ scores before she turned 20.
ICC WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
England vs South Africa
3rd ODI at Canterbury, 15th June 2018
England: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Amy Jones, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Nat Sciver, Sarah Taylor, Danni Wyatt
South Africa: Dane van Niekerk(c), Tazmin Brits, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Stacey Lackay, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Zintle Mali, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Mignon du Preez, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon, Laura Wolvaardt