Cuttack (Orissa), Feb.10 (ANI): Seamer Anya Shrubsole's career-best figures of five for 17 helped England to beat South Africa by seven wickets at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Sunday.
After electing to bowl, England dismissed South Africa for just 77 in 29.3 overs and then chased down the target in 9.3 overs to end at 81 for three.
South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals as Shrubsole tore through the batting line-up. Dane van Niekerk with 17 remained unbeaten in the end. The other major wicket-taker for England was Danielle Wyatt who ended with figures of three for seven.
In its reply, England lost wickets early on and was at one stage at 26 for three, thanks to an incisive spell by Chloe Tryon (two for 14). Thereafter, Lydia Greenway (25 n.o.) and Arran Brindle (28 n.o.) added an unbeaten 55 runs for the fourth wicket as England won with plenty to spare.
The side will play its final Super Six fixture on 13 February against New Zealand, in what will be a crucial match for Charlotte Edwards' team to attempt to secure itself a place in its seventh World Cup final.
South Africa captain Mignon du Preez was disappointed with the effort of her side. "It was one of those days where nothing worked for us. Obviously, we played them (England) in the warm-up game where things were quite different. We batted pretty well there. But today Anya Shrubsole bowled superbly, we can't take anything away from her.
"I just think we didn't even give ourselves a chance to spend some time in the middle. She bowled seven overs upfront and we just lost too many wickets at the start," said du Preez.
The South Africa captain conceded that her batters were not experienced enough to handle the pressure of playing defending champion England. The side will next play Sri Lanka on 13 February at the same ground.
"I definitely think as a team we're still a little inexperienced. We have to just get back to basics, unfortunately we fell short massively today. We don't want to dwell in the past, these things happen, but we just want to go out there and give it our best shot against Sri Lanka."
Du Preez said that the side would now aim to finish on a high since it is out of the race for both the third place play-off and the final. "We came here ranked here eighth, we've already moved into the top six now, so the incentive for us is to finish fifth. We want to go back home on a high," added du Preez.
England's Anya Shrubsole was thrilled with her effort in the morning. "It was a pretty good wicket. It was more swing than seam that worked for me today, but it's a really good win," said Shrubsole.
The seamers have proved to be the wreckers-in-chief in the tournament thus far, Shrubsole herself is the leading wicket-taker at the moment in the tournament.
The 21-year-old from Somerset reckoned that it has a lot to do with the conditions and also with the high skill levels of the bowlers.
She said: "With the 9am starts, the ball moves around a bit. But the seamers who've bowled upfront have shown a high level of skill I started swinging the ball back in a little bit more than before, but I've bowled consistently in the right areas more than before, and it worked today."
England will now have to wait and watch to know what it needs to do to make the final. "Definitely, we will be watching New Zealand's game against West Indies tomorrow, but in effect it is like a semi-final clash for us against the Kiwis. We've got a big game against New Zealand. We have not thought about the final yet. Hopefully that will lead us to the final," said Shrubsole. (ANI)