SA need to find ways to end Taunton T20 torture
For South Africans‚ Taunton will always be where Mark Boucher’s career was ended by a bail tumbling into his eye.
As of Wednesday‚ we have more reasons not to be cheerful about the nonetheless pretty Somerset town where cider rules.
None of those reasons are as serious as what happened to Boucher on July 9‚ 2012. But what happened to South Africa there this week will hurt in other ways‚ and for a long time.
To be part of a T20 triangular that featured double-headers for each team would have been exciting‚ and more so considering Dané van Niekerk’s side were first up to play two games on the same day.
But the good feelings faded once New Zealand’s total of 216/1 hove into view.
It was built on Suzie Bates’ undefeated 124 — which she hammered off 66 balls — and the opening stand of 182 she shared with Sophie Divine‚ who scored 73.
Only Marizanne Kapp and Van Niekerk got away with economy rates in the single figures.
The total and the partnership were world records for women’s T20 internationals.
Van Niekerk’s 58 was the best effort in South Africa’s reply of 150/6‚ which earned the Kiwis victory by 66 runs.
As bad as that was for the South Africans‚ there was worse to come in the second game in the diminutive form of England’s Tammy Beaumont — who reached a century off 47 balls on her way to making 116.
Beaumont and Danni Wyatt put on 147 for the first wicket‚ and England’s total of 250/3 usurped New Zealand’s freshly minted record.
This time only Van Niekerk escaped without conceding at least 10 runs an over.
South Africa’s captain was also their only player to fire‚ scoring 72 off 51 deliveries‚ in their total of 129/6.
On top of that‚ South Africa earned another unwanted milestone: England’s 121-run victory was the biggest by runs in women’s T20 internationals.
Beaumont survived a missed stumping by Lizelle Lee and a catch on the boundary by Sune Luus‚ who made a spectacular grab only for her momentum to take her over the rope ball and all.
But those agonies paled next to what Beaumont said on Sky Sports: “We saw the Kiwi girls broke [the world record] this morning.
“‘Robbo’ [Mark Robinson‚ England’s coach] told us in the pre-match chat not to try and break it but I think a few of the girls got a bit of a challenge on.
“We feel a bit sorry for the South Africa girls having to go two in two‚ but that’s the way it goes.”
The opponents’ coach telling his players to go easy on you?
One of those players feeling sympathy for you?
And it might not get any less painful on Saturday‚ when South Africa return to the scene of Wednesday’s crimes for the first match of the home side’s double-header.
Van Niekerk could be seen reading the riot act to her team between games on Wednesday.
Clearly‚ that didn’t work‚ and just what she can do to restore respectability — let’s not talk about being competitive just yet — can’t be measured in stats.
If it could‚ it would take a world record effort.