Beaumont stars as England victorious
Beaumont stars as England victorious

Kent’s Tammy Beaumont (148) and Sarah Taylor (147) put on England’s highest-ever ODI partnership as England beat South Africa by 68 runs at Bristol in the ICC Women’s World Cup.

The pair combined to put on 275 as England reached 373-5 from their 50 overs, beating the previous record stand of 268, set by Taylor herself and Caroline Atkins in 2008.

South Africa batted well in response and made England work hard for their wickets but the run-rate proved too steep as the innings progressed and the hosts were able to make it three wins on the bounce.

England remain at Bristol ahead of their next match, on Sunday 9 July, against holders Australia.

Having won the toss and chosen to bat on a pitch that, despite green areas, was predicted to be a good one for batting, England captain Heather Knight could barely have dreamed of a better performance from her top order.

While seemingly in good form, Beaumont’s World Cup had yet to spark but, with South Africa’s bowlers steaming in on a track that didn’t hinder pace, she was able to settle quickly by playing some trademark cover drives. In a first-wicket stand of 59 with Lauren Winfield, both openers played positively and England scored at close to a run a ball.

Winfield was tricked into a drive while on 24; Moseline Daniels held the ball back and Sune Luus caught the resulting skier at backward point. All that achieved, though, was to bring the red-hot Sarah Taylor to the crease.

Taylor and Beaumont batted within themselves for a few overs but they soon hit their straps and, once the partnership flourished, they made life all but impossible for Dane van Niekerk and her bowlers.

Scoring with ease around the ground, Taylor set the dominant tone, although Beaumont did eventually better her partner’s score by one run. However, when 148 beats 147 there’s no weak relative. It would be unfair to compare the two innings such was the display of footwork, stroke-play, and assuredness, from both.

The partnership was ended almost immediately after becoming England’s highest for any wicket in an ODI when Taylor found van Niekerk off the bowling of Ismail. Marizanne Kapp’s three wickets in four balls (Beaumont and the dangerous pair of Sciver and Brunt) then threatened to derail England’s momentum before Heather Knight took charge, swatting her way to an unbeaten nine-ball 22 to help the total to a mammoth 373.

South Africa’s chase made sure that this match demolished the previous Women’s ODI record for match aggregate runs. The 678 runs scored in the hundred overs was 151 more than the previous best, a match between India and the West Indies at Mumbai in 2013 (a 45-over game).

Lizelle Lee led the charge and fellow opener Laura Wolvaardt followed, both scoring half-centuries, but they were always behind England’s score at the same stage, especially as they entered the Taylor-Beaumont overs. Seven wickets fell to spin with three for Danni Hazell as the visitors tried vainly to accelerate, although Chloe Tryon showed she is capable of serious hitting with a 24-ball 54, including four sixes.

However, it’s testament to the astonishing efforts of Beaumont and Taylor that South Africa could post 305 yet lose by a margin of 68 runs. This must represent another progressive step in England’s World Cup campaign, and they will go into the Australia game on Sunday 9th July full of confidence.