Emma Lamb’s 102 propels England past South Africa target in first ODI

England secured a crushing victory against South Africa on Monday at Northampton, bowling them out for 218 in 47.4 overs before chasing down the runs with 107 balls and five wickets to spare.

An assured hundred from Emma Lamb, who had not scored a run in white-ball cricket before this match, ensured England were utterly dominant in the run chase, while Nat Sciver joined in the fun by smashing a 31-ball half-century.

“It feels amazing,” Lamb said. “When we lost an early wicket there was a bit of pressure on me, but I still wanted to play my game and not change anything. Anything in my arc I wanted to hit it with 100%.

“It was a big mindset thing for us – we wanted to be really positive with the bat. When we play our best cricket we can dominate and win easily.”

Lamb – whose innings was glittered with scything cuts – was out pulling one straight to square-leg in the 31st over, but it took just 12 more balls for Heather Knight and Danni Wyatt to finish the job.

The newlyweds Sciver and Katherine Brunt had earlier set up the rout, between them taking seven wickets for 77 runs after becoming the first married couple to open the bowling in international cricket.

Brunt made a typically feisty return to international cricket with an opening spell of 5-1-5-2, which began with her persuading Knight to call for a fruitless review for caught behind against Andrie Steyn. She made up for it with wickets in the fourth and fifth overs of the spell, trapping Steyn lbw, before Lara Goodall – having successfully overturned a second lbw decision two balls earlier – nicked one to Knight at slip.

Sciver was admittedly less successful with the new ball, conceding 21 runs in three overs from the Lynn Wilson Centre end. But when she switched to the Wantage Road end after drinks she struck immediately to remove the in-form Marizanne Kapp, with Kate Cross rolling to her left at mid-on to take the catch.

Laura Wolvaardt had acquired a patient 43 from 72 balls, but she was given out lbw to Charlie Dean in the 30th over and walked – despite reviews later clearly showing an inside edge.

It would have been an even bigger disaster for South Africa but for Chloe Tryon, who returned to the side with a vengeance after missing the Test with a hip niggle. She slammed a ferocious 88 from 73 balls, sharing a 97-run partnership with Nadine de Klerk for the sixth wicket. Admittedly she did bat like a cat with nine lives – put down by Amy Jones behind the stumps on 19, and twice reprieved by DRS after on-field lbw decisions went against her.

Her innings, epitomised by a huge six smashed on to the roof of the Cinch Stand in the 40th over, was enough to raise South Africa over 200, but – having earlier helped to reduce South Africa to 108 for five – Sciver and Brunt then combined at the death to have both batters caught, and force a tail collapse of five wickets for just 13 runs.

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