England 232 for 3 (Beaumont 105, Knight 80*) beat South Africa 229 (van Niekerk 95) by seven wickets
Tammy Beaumont reprised the run-hungry form that earned her the Player of the Tournament award at last year's World Cup, as England completed a come-from-behind 2-1 series win over South Africa with a seven-wicket victory in the third ODI at Canterbury.
Set a target of 229 after a mixed South African innings that featured a powerful knock of 95 from Dane van Niekerk as well as another masterclass of wicketkeeping skills from Sarah Taylor, Beaumont's 105 guided her team's fortunes, as she and Heather Knight (80 not out) added 154 for the third wicket to seal the series with 36 balls to spare.
It was a one-sided final flurry from England, as Beaumont completed her fifth ODI hundred from 121 balls with 13 fours. It was her third against South Africa, and second in the space of three days, and though she fell lbw to Marizanne Kapp two balls after sealing this latest landmark, Knight and Nat Sciver carried England home with no further alarms.
It was England's most complete performance of an entertaining and competitive series - and it secured their ninth consecutive series win against South Africa since their rivalry began in 1997.
A major factor in the ease of England's victory was undoubtedly the early extraction of their nemesis from the opening two contests, Lizelle Lee, who was thwacked on the pad by a big inswinger from Anya Shrubsole for 2. Replays showed that the ball would in fact have missed leg stump, but Lee's own reaction had been one of horror as she missed a booming drive, and with no recourse to DRS in this series, it was a hammer blow to South Africa's hopes of setting an imposing total.
Nevertheless, Lee's opening partner, Laura Wolvaardt, set herself to anchor the innings, and after Andrie Steyn had fallen lbw to Sophie Ecclestone's fourth delivery, she found in van Niekerk an equally determined partner. The pair added 103 for the third wicket, albeit with the assistance from some lacklustre catching from England's fielders, who shelled three chances. Even so, it took until the 32nd over for South Africa to post their 100, as they were tied down by some diligent line and length from Georgia Elwiss in particular.
Van Niekerk stepped up her intent as the front-line seamers, Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt returned to the attack. Wolvaardt, however, found the change in pace harder to compute, and after a fine 64 she holed out tamely to mid-off off Elwiss. Her departure, however, wasn't the worst result for South Africa, as it brought the aggressive Chloe Tryon to the crease, and she displayed her credentials with a volley of boundaries before picking out Amy Jones on the long-on rope.
The outstanding moment of the innings, however, was still to come. That came with van Niekerk on 95, and eyeing up her maiden ODI hundred. Taylor was standing up to the stumps against Brunt, the quickest bowler in England's ranks, when she scooped a leg-side delivery down at her ankles, and whipped off the bails in a single motion. It was a breathtaking display of class from a keeper who had already pulled off one leg-side blinder in the series opener. This was arguably even better.
Moments later, Sune Luis was caught by Sciver before Kapp drilled a drive straight back to the spinner, Laura Marsh. South Africa's innings ended with a hat-trick of line calls: two run-outs in a row followed by the first-ball stumping of Shabnim Ismail - Taylor, for once, fumbled the initial opportunity, but still had time to recover before the batsman had remade her ground.
In response, Beaumont and Amy Jones set a platform in an opening stand of 39, and though Beaumont was fortunate with one lbw appeal, on 16, she barely played a false stroke thereafter. She and Knight made light of a rare misjudgement from Taylor, who played across the line to the impressive Ayabonga Khaka, but by the end, they were displaying the poise of champions. South Africa's women, however, had proven without doubt that they have closed the gap to the world's leading teams.