South Africa holds nerve, beats England

van Niekerk leads from the front with good contributions with bat and ball

South Africa’s batters held their nerve to deliver an upset six-wicket victory over England at the women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Perth on Sunday.

The Proteas have made the early running in Group B along with the West Indies, who beat newcomers Thailand on Saturday. Only the top two from each of the two five-team groups qualify for the knockout phase.

Chasing a modest 124, South Africa appeared in control at 90 for one in the 16th over before the match turned with the wickets of captain Dane van Niekerk (46) and Marizanne Kapp (38) in quick succession.

Needing nine runs off the final over, Mignon du Preez was the heroine with a six off the third ball from Katherine Brunt before hitting the winning runs with a boundary.

It capped an impressive performance from South Africa after van Niekerk’s decision to bowl was vindicated when her accurate attack restricted England to 123 for eight in its 20 overs.

The captain also picked up two for 20 in her four overs, earning her the Player-of-the-Match award.

England was shackled by disciplined bowling until Natalie Sciver (50) upped the ante at the backend of the innings.

The scores:

England 123/8 in 20 overs (Natalie Sciver 50; Ayabonga Khaka 3/25) lost to South Africa 127/4 in 19.4 overs (Dane van Niekerk 46, Marizanne Kapp 38). Player-of-the-Match: van Niekerk.

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