Kate Cross praised England women’s bowling unit after a five-wicket win in the third one-day international against South Africa sealed a series victory .
Lancashire seamer Cross, who came into the team for the injured Katherine Brunt, shared an impressive new-ball spell with Anya Shrubsole and six different bowlers took wickets as the hosts were restricted to 196 for nine at the Wanderers.
An early wobble left England 38 for three in reply, but half-centuries from Heather Knight and Georgia Elwiss – who like Cross was making her first appearance of the series – saw the tourists over the line.
“We knew what we needed to do when we came here today, we knew it was a must-win game,” Cross told ecb.co.uk , after a result which secured victory in new Head Coach Mark Robinson’s first series in charge.
“It was great to see Georgia and Trev [Knight] do so well and get us to the win at the end.
“You never want to see any of your team-mates get injured, but it does give me an opportunity and we’ve spoken a lot about the importance of early wickets and not letting their openers get away.
“Anya bowled really well up front and got us off to a brilliant start which I think calmed my nerves a bit, but I think all-in-all it was a brilliant bowling performance and that was something we looked to improve on from the last ODI so we were really pleased with that.
“The spirit we’ve got in the dressing room, it was never in doubt that we were going to chase that down.”
While the bowling attack shared the workload, player-of-the-series Knight, who made an unbeaten 67, and Elwiss, whose 61 was her maiden ODI half-century, overcame the majority of the run chase.
“It’s great to see that she’s in form, especially when you’ve got her batting at number five,” Cross added of Elwiss.
— Kate Cross (@katecross16) February 14, 2016
“It was backed up by Georgia and they really settled the ship and I’m so pleased for Georgia she’s got her first ODI fifty.”
A 2-1 series triumph puts England level with South Africa in fourth place in the ICC Women’s Championship, and with the top four sides qualifying for the 2017 World Cup in England, the importance of beating one of their closest rivals was not lost on 24-year-old Cross.
“It’s always good to get a series win under the belt and we know how important these games are towards the World Cup Championship, so a double bonus for us I guess,” she added.
“We know the importance of them and obviously we’re desperate to be in that World Cup come 2017, especially with it being at home.
“I think we’ve stamped a bit of a mark on it and hopefully we’ll be climbing up that table.”