Derby: England spinner Sophie Ecclestone’s all-round performance helped the hosts defeat South Africa Women by 38 runs in the third and final T20 International at the County Ground here to complete a 3-0 series sweep here.
Ecclestone displayed some clean hitting at the back end of the England innings on Monday, scoring an unbeaten 33 off just 12 balls to help her team to a massive 176/6 in the allotted 20 overs.
She clobbered four boundaries and two massive sixes during an entertaining knock — also her highest T20I score — and then backed it up by picking up two crucial wickets to ensure South Africa fell short on the run chase.
England used seven bowlers against the Proteas, with young quick Issy Wong (1/40) producing a peach of a delivery to clean bowl South Africa opener Lara Goodall during the opening over of the chase.
The Proteas overcame the early loss of Goodall to put together a couple of handy partnerships, with No.3 batter Tazmin Brits leading the way with a stylish half-century. But the Proteas were always going to struggle without the services of dependable all-rounder Marizanne Kapp and skipper Sune Luus, as Ecclestone picked up the vital wicket of the dangerous Laura Wolvaardt for 13 and the required rate continued to rise.
Experienced duo Mignon du Preez and Chloe Tryon tried to hit out during the final overs, but Freya Kemp (2/18) effectively ended any hope the Proteas had when she deceived Brits during the 18th over of the run chase to ensure victory for the hosts.
Both teams will now turn their attention to picking up a medal at the Commonwealth Games, which commences in Birmingham later this week.
England have plenty of depth at their disposal and will be considered a leading contender for gold given they are playing at home and key players such as Nat Sciver, Danni Wyatt and Ecclestone appear to be in good form.
Brief scores: England 176/6 in 20 overs (Danni Wyatt 30, Sophie Ecclestone 33 not out; Nonkululeko Mlaba 3/22) beat South Africa 138/6 in 20 overs (Tazmin Brits 59; Sophie Ecclestone 2/24).