The South Africans were set a target of 263 for victory in Centurion, but recorded their highest ever chase to reach the target with seven balls to spare. Their previous best chase was the 254/8 they made to beat the same opponents at Taunton on 17 August 1997 – almost 20 years ago.
Central to their victory was Lee’s splendid 69 from just 56 deliveries (12 fours) as she tore into the English attack. Together with Marizanne Kapp (44 off 34), the pair shared in a critical 112-run fourth-wicket stand that finished off the win. The pair had come together at a vital time for the home side, who appeared to be stuttering following the losses of the attacking Wolfvaardt and the steady Chetty, as well as captain Mignon Du Preez (9).
Sixteen-year-old Wolfvaardt, winning only her second cap, struck an assured 55 in 94 balls (one six, five fours), and shared in an opening 113-run partnership with Chetty, who followed up her career-best 90 in the opening game with 66 in 84 balls (six fours). But two wickets in two balls by Danielle Hazell left the hosts on 134/3. Kapp and Lee rebuilt slowly, but with the run rate climbing to over nine runs per over in the 38th over the target looked beyond the SA girls.
However, the fourth-wicket stand scored at eight to the over took them to the brink, before Dane Van Niekerk (12*) took them over the line. Earlier Shabnim Ismail ended as the pick of the bowlers with 3/32 in 10, while there were two wickets apiece for Van Niekerk (2/43) and Sune Luus (2/33). Heather Knight top-scored for England with 61 off 76 (five fours, one six) to help them reach 262/9.
The deciding match takes place at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.