Young Emma Lamb scored a maiden international century as England, backed by fine bowling performances from Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt, won the opening One-day International against South Africa Women by five wickets with 107 ball remaining at the County Ground here.
England bowlers were tough to negotiate, with Sciver grabbing a four-wicket haul, while Brunt took three as the Proteas were dismissed for 218 in 47.4 overs. England’s massive win comes months after they stopped South Africa’s charge in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup semifinal in New Zealand.
The hosts then notched up the winning runs in 32.1 overs with Emma Lamb smashing 15 boundaries in her nearly run-a-ball 102.
Earlier, Katherine Brunt found an early rhythm in her return, taking 2/5 in her opening spell of five overs. Cracking the South African batting order open with strikes in consecutive overs, the quick finished with a third, beating the defences of Ayabonga Khaka as the hosts pressed on to take all 10 wickets.
Nat Sciver was not as lethal with the new ball, but returned to decimate the middle order, finishing with 4/59.
Missing the Test match through injury, Chloe Tryon showcased her power in an admirable counter attack, plundering 13 boundaries in a 73-ball 88. Walking out at 73/4 and losing Laura Wolvaardt soon after at 108/5, Tryon saved the tourists from a total collapse, putting on 97 with Nadine de Klerk (38), and taking the score past 200. The right-hander would only fall in the final five overs trying to move up an extra gear.
The knock was her ninth ODI fifty, and second-highest score in the format, according to ICC.
The England setup challenged Lamb to deliver at the top of the order, and the 24-year-old exceeded all expectations with a magnificent maiden century in her first Test. Losing Tammy Beaumont early in the chase of 219, Lamb outscored the aggressive Sophia Dunkley in a partnership of 78, and chugged along with Sciver, who made a quick 55 from just 36 balls.
Lamb was the star though, bringing up her century with a superb drive wide of cover. The opener eventually fell to Tumi Sekhukhune for 102, though had all but sealed victory for the hosts, who coasted home in the 33rd over.
Brief scores: South Africa Women 218 in 47.4 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 43, Chloe Tryon 88, Nadine de Klerk 38; Nat Sciver 4/59, Katherine Brunt 3/18) lost to England 219/5 in 32.1 overs (Emma Lamb 102, Nat Sciver 55) by five wickets.