Captain Charlotte Edwards was in the runs once more as England Women beat South Africa by 42 runs to claim an unassailable 2-0 lead in the NatWest International T20 series at Wantage Road.
Edwards passed 50 for a fourth consecutive international innings on her way to 75 not out, compiled throughout an imposing total of 141 for three.
South Africa’s batting flailed in posting just 89 for four at the Essex County Ground on Monday but they appeared up for the fight as Dane van Niekerk and Mignon du Preez helped them race to 46 for one after the six-over powerplay.
But off-spinner Danielle Hazel took the crucial wicket of Du Preez amid excellent figures of 1-17 and the Proteas subsided badly to 99 all out.
Marizanne Kapp scored 27 from 28 balls but looked on as five wickets fell for 15 runs at the other end, Jenny Gunn the main beneficiary with 3-13.
Heather Knight and Anya Shrubsole also took two wickets apiece and three quicksilver stumpings from Sarah Taylor added up to a highly satisfactory evening for England.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Edwards put on 45 in seven overs for the first wicket alongside Lauren Winfield.
Yorkshire opener Winfield stuck arguably the shot of the innings with a lofted drive over extra cover and contributed a handy 22 from 20 deliveries before being stumped by Trisha Chetty off van Niekerk.
Taylor and Nat Sciver both went along at a run-a-ball alongside Edwards to keep England ticking along through the middle overs.
Both fell attacking Moseline Daniels, leaving Edwards to provide the final acceleration as she struck 11 fours overall – laced with aplomb on either side of the wicket.
Shrubsole arched a delivery back to take Lizelle Lee’s off stump, although there was precious little to cheer for England at the start of the South African reply.
But du Preez’s error in picking out Nat Sciver with the field spread proved pivotal and soon, when Gunn bowled Sune Luus and pinned Chloe Tryon lbw to find herself on a hat-trick, the game appeared up for South Africa.
Edwards opted against giving seamer Gunn a slip and Shabnim Ismail edged the hat-trick ball through the vacant cordon, but there was little else to grumble about for the hosts as the match raced towards its conclusion – Taylor’s dazzling glovework standing up to the pace of Shrubsole and Kathrine Brunt proving a particular highlight.
England captain and player of the match Charlotte Edwards: “I thought they came out brilliantly. We didn’t bowl as well as we have done up front and they capitalised on that. I’m delighted to win by that margin but it didn’t feel like that easy a game. Our bowling and our fielding was exceptional through that middle phase.
“Something I learned from batting was it got harder the longer I was in there. I came off and said ‘look, girls, we’re probably going to have to bowl cutters and bowl straight’. If we did that I knew we could defend that total. It was probably good that I batted for as long as I did.”