6th over: England 31-2 (Sciver 1, Knight 1) Kapp is given a third over on the bounce, and Sciver is off the mark with a nudge off her hips. Knight gets on the scoreboard too with a high square cut for another single. Kapp is giving a becalmed England very little to work with here, though she does stray down the legside for a wide, generally hitting that off-stump corridor just back of a length, and the dot balls pile up. SA very much on top at the moment. As Nasser in the commentary box says, 31-2 is low off a powerplay at this ground.
5th over: England 28-2 (Sciver 0, Knight 0) Ayabonga Khaka replaces Ismail and strikes first ball, Wyatt bunting it on the full to Lee at backward point. Kaka doesn’t have the pace of Ismail and Kapp but gets swing in the air, and forces the captain, Knight, to be watchful, which she needs to be for a bit after that double blow. This is a good over from the 27-year-old.
Wicket! Wyatt c Lee b Khaka 2, England 26-2
Both openers gone now. Wyatt lazily slashes Kaka’s indifferent first ball to Lee who takes a low catch.
4th over: England 26-1 (Wyatt 2, Sciver 0) Good bowling from Kapp who cramps up an advancing Jones with a slightly shorter one, though the opening batter still manages to nudge it round the corner for one. Wyatt, facing only her second ball, makes it two from two with a quick single. Good fielding in the deep then prevents two becoming three for Jones, who then perishes with an ill-advised thwack. England send out Nat Sciver next, who runs a quick single off the last ball of a good over.
They’re playing some decent between-overs, between-balls music on the PA here (if you like that sort of thing) – Talking Heads, Human League, Abba, Dizzy Rascal. Although time and a place and all that.
Wicket! Jones c Tryon b Kapp 23, England 25-1
Jones’s first bad bit of cricket is punished, trying to loft a back of a lenghth ball that wasn’t really loftable and scooping up towards extra cover where Tryon takes a comfortable catch. Big scalp for South Africa as Jones had been playing beautifully
3rd over: England 21-0 (Jones 20, Wyatt 1) Ismail comes into the attack, having been spurned for the first over, and Wyatt drives the first ball she’s faced so far for a single, before Jones punctures the infield again with a magnificent back-foot push for four. Two more follow when Jones doesn’t quite get hold of a short one and pulls it past mid-on. Another slightly mistimed pull brings another single, Ismail digging it in short in general here.
“This World Cup has been a treat to follow so far,” trills our old friend Abhijato Sensarma. “The emotions, the debutants, the excellent atmosphere, and the close finishes have all made for an exceptional start to the tournament. The women’s game has grown exponentially since the 50-over event in 2017. Matches such as these only improve their appeal. Hopefully the momentum continues today, and we’re treated to another thriller.”
2nd over: England 13-0 (Jones 13, Wyatt 0) Getting a bit blowy out there, as is the custom, and South Africa opt for pace at the other end, Kapp swinging a ripper past Jones’s outside edge to introduce herself using the breeze and the seam expertly. She’s got 77 T20i caps for a reason. But Jones finds the boundary with her fourth ball, adeptly finding the gap between midwicket and mid-on with a deliciously timed clip. A good-cricket-all-round kind of over. Four runs, five dots.
1st over: England 9-0 (Jones 9, Wyatt 0) There’s a good and noisy South Africa following in as Mlaba, the left-arm spinner, is surprisingly tossed the new ball and England opt for their conventional opening pair of Jones, who plays here in the WBBL, and Wyatt. Mlaba is accurate, tossing it up and into the slot, and gets two dots to start with before Jones leathers a full toss past mid-off for four. Jones is even classier next ball, advancing and lofting over mid-off for four more. Good confident start from a good confident batter.
The players are out, and the anthems are a-playin’
This is the third match on this pitch in two days, though as Hazel Potter points out, that’s under 80 overs in total, so we’re still talking about a first-day surface in old money. The chasing team won both yesterday’s matches of course.
They line up thusly:
England Amy Jones, Danni Wyatt, Natalie Sciver, Heather Knight, Fran Wilson, Katherine Brunt, Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Winfield, Anya Shrubsole, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn
South Africa Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp, Dane van Niekerk, Mignon du Preez, Chloe Tryon, Sune Luus, Trisha Chetty, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Nonkululeko Mlaba
South Africa win the toss and bowl
Dane van de Niekerk reckons defending here in the BBL was a bit tricky, so would rather chase. Heather Knight says she’d have done likewise. She says the team have sat down and regrouped since the Ashes under a new coach and with new younger players and is looking forward to show the work the team have done.
Yesterday’s match in this group, also at the Waca, saw West Indies eventually cruise to a seven-wicket victory over Thailand, while the same venue also hosted an eventually comfortable win by the same margin for New Zealand over the Sri Lanka side that eviscerated England in a warm-up last week.
And while we’re waiting for the toss, have yourselves an Anya Shrubsole interview:
Morning/evening everyone, and welcome to what is likely to be the pivotal fixture in Group B. An England side in transition and under new management, in the form of coach Lisa Keightley, but still boasting plenty of big tournament experience, take on a South Africa team with a historically poor record in this competition but who are improving and are certainly capable of mounting a challenge this time.
England had a bit of a chastening past year, having been well beaten in the Ashes last English summer and edged out of the recent Tri Series by Australia and India, but you’d still fancy them to make the final, with a fair wind. Talking of wind, that brings us to Perth and the fact today’s match is being played at the dear old Waca, fabled fast bowlers’ paradise of yore, though it might be in the spin department that England are currently strongest, with Sophie Ecclestone a serious threat and a relative dearth of seam options behind Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt.
South Africa have progressed from their group only once in this competiton’s 11-year history but boast plenty of BBL experience in their ranks, which can count for a lot here. Pace bowlers Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail are capable of giving England the hurry-up and Lizelle Lee, who has 1,434 T20i runs to her name at a strike rate of 107 will threaten at the top of the order.
Toss is in 10 minutes or so. Bring it, as they say, on.