England have thrashed South Africa by nine wickets to reach the women’s T20 World Cup final.
The South Africans were left to rue an extraordinary number of run-outs. This was one of the more unwelcome records to be equalled in the tournament as they lost Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Shabnim Ismail and Moseline Daniels, and such inefficient running between the stumps would go on to cost them dear.
The Proteas’ top order also let themselves down, with their opening four batsmen racking up just sixteen runs and facing just thirty-six balls.
England openers Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards, on the other hand, kept their cool to rack up 44 and 36 respectively, while Heather Knight also weighed in with 21 runs. In fact, Edwards was England’s only wicket to fall after being caught and bowled by Luus.
Despite being overwhelming favourites before the game, captain Edwards had insisted her side understood the magnitude of the task facing them ahead of it, even though it was South Africa’s first appearance in a World Cup semi-final. Their reputation as one of the World Cup’s biggest-hitting sides though meant there was the potential for an upset on the cards.
There were no signs of nerves on Friday, however, as South Africa were skittled out for just 101, with Anya Shrubsole and Rebecca Grundy taking two wickets apiece. Chloe Tryon offered the best chance of resistance, amassing a respectable 40, but with her wicket (clean bowled by Natalie Sciver) went the Proteas’ last hopes of staying in the tournament.
Shrubsole finished with figures of just 2-12, and together with some excellent work in the field, played a key role in England’s triumph, as had been expected. Such a comprehensive victory means they will surely go into the final as favourites against Australia, who reached the back-end of the tournament after defeating the West Indies.
England have repaid the faith shown in them by the ECB after it recently announced that the top players in the women’s game would be given full-time professional contracts, starting this summer.
Before that, though, England face a tough ask against the Aussies, in what will be a rematch of the 2012 final, which Australia won by four runs.
Although that final went down to the last ball, Edwards blamed the result on her side’s poor discipline. Two years on, and England look much better placed to deliver after a show of unity and cohesiveness against the South Africans.
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