ESPNcricinfo Awards 2022 Women's ODI bowling winner: Ecclestone silences South Africa
Ecclestone's maiden international five-wicket haul propelled England into an ODI World Cup title decider against Australia, which had seemed nigh on impossible after they had dropped their first three matches of the tournament. That she wasn't even Player of the Match came down to Danni Wyatt's 129 at better than a run a ball to set defending champions England up for a big total of 293 for 8. But Ecclestone rammed home the advantage, tearing through South Africa for just 156 for a massive 137-run victory, their fifth on the trot after such a terrible start.
After Anya Shrubsole had reduced their opponents to 8 for 2, Ecclestone demolished the middle and lower order. It started with a beautifully tossed-up ball that drifted onto Marizanne Kapp's middle and leg stumps before turning away to hit the top of middle, and ended in a stumping as Trisha Chetty advanced, swung and missed and Amy Jones whipped off the bails. In between, Ecclestone had Chloe Tryon caught at midwicket by Nat Sciver, beat Mignon du Preez's attempted paddle and had Masabata Klaas caught by Tammy Beaumont at point off a leading edge to claim five.
When she had Shabnim Ismail out to a leading edge, gathered by Charlie Dean stepping in from mid-off, for her fourth wicket, Ecclestone stood smiling with her finger to her lips. The pair had exchanged words when Ismail dismissed Ecclestone with the last ball of England's innings - but on this occasion Ecclestone had the last.
1 Number of international five-wicket hauls for Sophie Ecclestone
2 Number of players to achieve a five-wicket haul in a Women's ODI World Cup knockout game. Anya Shrubsole is the other with 6 for 42 in the 2017 final.
What they said
"I just remember getting my five-for, I've never had a five-for for England, which is mad, but I remember celebrating and everyone getting round me."
- Sophie Ecclestone
"Ecclestone, for me, is probably the best bowler in the world, so for her to keep producing like she does is an absolute godsend in the semi-final of a World Cup.
- Sarah Taylor, former England wicket-keeper batter
The closest contenders
5 for 45 vs England, ODI World Cup
Kapp's return delivered South Africa victory by three wickets with just four balls to spare and handed England their third defeat in a row at the World Cup. In a reversal of the result which knocked them out in the 2017 edition, South Africa could dare to dream... until England turned it all around.
4 for 23 vs India, ODI World Cup
Playing just her second World Cup match, Dean's haul was - and remains - her ODI career best and, more crucially, allowed England to stay in control of their destiny in the group stages as part of their remarkable turnaround at the tournament.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo