South Africa, in the first Women World Cup Semi-final, could not break the England hoodoo. Despite of its strong bowling blitz that disrupted the chase, England made the way out to the final, winning the match by 2 wickets with 2 balls remaining. South Africa challenged England scoring 218 on the Bristol pitch. Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon du Preez steered the inning through England’s best bowling stances. The opener Wolvaardt scored 66 off 100 balls while du Preez remained unbeaten to score 76. The players partnered for 77 runs. Although the stretch was slow, it made them haul the score to a 200 plus figure.
The run rate was low throughout the inning. By the end of the inning, du Preez delivered a couple of boundaries. In the stretch after the partnership, Dane van Nierkerk added 27 beating 3 fours and the only six of the inning. The captain was run out. In the tail, du Preez had Sune Luus, who added 21 off 25 balls. In the inning, Anya Shrubsole bowled strong to restrict the flow of runs. In her 10 overs, South Africa players could scratch out only 33 runs. She also bowled Lizelle Lee, one of the early wickets.
The England team displayed a sheer dominance in chasing South Africa’s score, with an in-depth batting. The victory came out as an insignia of substance in Team England. The recovery from a collapse of 149 for 5 wickets to chase 219 could not have been possible without a phenomenal batting. The top order collapsed was after the team scaled more than half the chase. By the 347th over, England was slogged in its chase losing five wickets.
Forging the partnership of 78 Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight delivered the winning impetus. The first wicket partnership of 42 runs between Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont was also imperative. However, the salvaging stretch was from Fran Wilson and Jenny Gunn who partnered for 40 runs after the mid-over collapse. Wilson’s 30 was an imperative addition. She steered the inning throughout the most perilous stretch with equally crucial support from Katherine Brunt and Gunn. When Wilson was down in the 48 over, England required 6 runs to win off 12 balls.
Although South Africa managed to bring down the tussle to challenging heights, the extras in its bowling finally took a dig. Had they bowled with a little more discipline, the bowlers could have denied that 25 extra runs to England. This could have made the outcome different. Ayabonga Khaka was the best shot in bowling, maintaining an economy of 2.80 in her 10 overs, while she bowled only a single wide. She is also the one to remove the two early wickets of England.
Even if South Africa women lost the semi-final, the tournament was a feat for the team. South Africa team became a benchmark of growing competitiveness and intensity of Women Cricket. The next semi-final knockout is between India and Australia. The winner will face off England in the grand finale.
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