It came as little surprise when Heather Knight, the skipper, lavished praise on her pacer. “I think Katherine came out and played brilliantly, she kept that intent towards the end of her innings and she had a very good game. She has turned into a genuine all-rounder now and under pressure today she managed to pump out a score for us and keep us in the game,” Knight said of Brunt on Saturday (June 9), after England were handed a seven-wicket drubbing. “We have had a winter away; a drawn Ashes series and we took a slightly younger squad to India. But we are still developing and hopefully performances like Katherine’s today show players are still improving no matter what age they are. We haven’t had a great day today, but we have another chance to put a few things right on Tuesday.”
Knight had opted to bat, but wickets falling in clumps hurt England as South Africa’s pacers controlled the innings from the onset. Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka shared three wickets each, while Chloe Tryon and Marizanne Kapp had one apiece. Yet, Knight didn’t think she made the wrong call. “I think it was a 50/50 call. I don’t think it moved outrageously for them, I think they bowled very well. I think bar Tammy [Beaumont’s] dismissal it was probably us with execution. A few soft dismissals and the Saffas bowled very well, they bowled straight, attacked the stumps, and when you are 64/6 it is hard to salvage the game.
“Yeah maybe [we went too hard early on]. A few soft dismissals, but I think South Africa bowled very well and made it tricky for us. Once we lost those early wickets it was always going to be hard for us to get back in the game,” she said.