England's team of new professionals will play a World Twenty20 semi-final on Friday facing a team who have never beaten them. In eight matches against South Africa, seven have gone in favour of England with one no result.
The most recent of these victories was in late 2011 and much has changed since then. As Charlotte Edwards, England's captain, said: "In recent times, we've been pretty successful against them. But two years ago when we played them I said they would be a force to be reckoned with within the next few years, and to see them play so well the other night kind of backed up what I was thinking.
"I would say they've got the core five or six players and a varied attack that could be quite threatening."
There is a clear difference in power between the sides with South Africa having hit 10 sixes in the tournament so far to England's none and 60 fours compared with 48.
Edwards is pinning her hopes on England's bowlers being too cunning for South Africa, with Anya Shrubsole opening the attack and Natalie Sciver and Rebecca Grundy, right and left-arm purveyors of gentle, accurate medium pace respectively, drying up runs in the middle overs.
England do not officially turn professional until May. A World Twenty20 final on Sunday against Australia, who defeated West Indies today, would be a perfect way to prepare for the new era.Reuse content