Sophie Ecclestone played a key role as England ended the day top of the women's Twenty20 tri-series table following a 54-run victory over New Zealand at Taunton.

Natalie Sciver's half-century helped the hosts set a target of 172 from their 20 overs, before Chester Boughton Hall Women's, Alvanley and Lancashire spinner Ecclestone took four for 18 as New Zealand were bowled out for 118.

Victory over the White Ferns was part of a double-header for England after they suffered a six-wicket defeat to South Africa in their opening match on Saturday.

Mark Robinson's side sit two points above their opponents in the tournament table - albeit having played a game more than New Zealand - with the top two scheduled to meet each other in the final on July 1 following another round of matches.

Sciver made 59 from 37 balls against New Zealand before being caught off the bowling of Anna Peterson, while Tammy Beaumont (23) and Anya Shrubsole (22) also contributed to England's total.

Player of the match Ecclestone then took centre stage, clean bowling Katey Martin and Bernadine Bezuidenhout, before dismissing Leigh Kasperek for a duck and having Peterson caught by Sciver as England ended on a high.

Earlier, Sune Luus and Mignon du Preez steered South Africa to their first victory of the tournament as they beat England by six wickets with three balls remaining.

England batted first and made 160 for five thanks to Beaumont's 71 and then took the early wicket of Laura Wolvaardt. However, Lizelle Lee's 68 put South Africa in control.

Ecclestone's two late wickets gave England a glimmer of hope but Luus (63) and du Preez (8) saw out the game, with the former hitting a six for the winning runs in the final over.