Sarah Taylor’s half-century and useful contribution by the top order helped England Women defeat South Africa by two wickets to reach the finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup. Earlier, England’s assortment of bowlers restricted the Proteas for 218, which eventually proved to be not enough.
Brief scores: South Africa Women 218/6 (Mignon du Preez 76, Laura Wolvaardt 66; Heather Knight 1/8, Natalie Sciver 1/25) lost by England Women 221/8 (Sarah Taylor 54, Fran Wilson 30; Suné Luus 2/24, Ayabonga Khaka 2/128) by 2 wickets.
Winning the toss, South African Women’s team skipper Dane van Niekerk opted to bat first in a bid to secure a berth in the final of the Women’s World Cup. However, England came up with an unchanged squad in their most important match of the tournament, so far.
South Africa fail to build on a good start
Laura Wolvaardt started the South African innings on a good note hitting a four on the very first ball of Katherine Brunt, who leaked nine runs in first over. Anya Shrubsole tried to control the pace of the run-flow as she gave away just one run in her first two overs before claiming Lizelle Lee’s wicket in the sixth over of the match. At the end of the first powerplay, South Africa found themselves at a comfortable position scoring 41 runs losing only one wicket. However, the introduction of spin helped England contain the Proteas as they could only muster 34 runs in next 10 overs and also lost Trisha Chetty’s wicket. Mignon du Preez along with Wolvaardt tried to stitch a good partnership and took the scoreboard to 121 for 2 in 31 overs. In a desperate bid to get a wicket, skipper Heather Knight brought herself to the attack and that immediately reaped dividends as she was able to break the partnership in the very next over before claiming du Preez’s wicket. The loss of wickets dented the run-flow big-time as England bowlers didn’t allow them to open their arms. As a result, the Proteas managed to score a modest 218/6 in the stipulated 50 overs.
Hosts overcome the target to reach final
Chasing South Africa’s 219-run target, England got off to a good start and scored almost at 5 runs an over as the two openers - Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont - milked runs with sheer disdain. Although Ayabonga Khaka managed to get rid off Winfield in the ninth over, the incoming Sarah Taylor started playing her attacking brand of cricket. But soon after the dismissal of Winfield, Beaumont became the second victim of the Protean pacer. But determined to guide England home, Taylor, partnering skipper Knight, kept the scorecard ticking. But after a 78-run partnership, Taylor, unfortunately, got out leaving England on 139/4, but not before scoring a valuable 54 runs. Two quick dismissals followed the English wicket-keeper’s departure but Fran Wilson and Jenny Gunn kept fighting hard as the equation was boiled down to England needing 10 runs from last three overs. While it seemed hunky-dory for the England side, South Africa