Anya Shrubsole took a hat-trick as England thrashed South Africa by seven wickets in Saint Lucia on Friday to boost their hopes of reaching the Women’s World Twenty20 semi-finals.
Hosts and reigning champions West Indies could send themselves and England into the last four if they beat Sri Lanka later on Saturday.
It was a must-win game for World Cup champions England after their opening game against Sri Lanka was washed out, but a tame effort with the bat from South Africa ensured the match was never a real contest.
“Anya’s bowled brilliantly for us, and to have so few runs to chase was nice,” said England captain Heather Knight.
The usually big-hitting Lizelle Lee crawled to a 26-ball 12 before being trapped by Natalie Sciver, who ended with incredible figures of three for four from four overs, as South Africa mustered a paltry 85 all out.
Shrubsole, the star of England’s thrilling World Cup final win over India last year, wrapped up the innings by becoming only the second woman from her country to take a T20 international hat-trick after Sciver against New Zealand in 2013.
She dismissed Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas and Yolani Fourie with the first three deliveries of the final over.
England openers Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont put on a quickfire 55, and wicketkeeper Amy Jones’ driven four wrapped up a thumping victory with 35 balls to spare.
“The manner of the loss (means) we owe an apology to our whole country, it’s not our character to roll over like that,” bemoaned South Africa skipper Dane van Niekerk, who was run out backing up for one.
“We have the firepower and the talent but you need to perform at World Cups against quality sides like England. I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t have answers.”