SEMI-FINAL MATCH REPORT : England v South Africa


Who would have thought it when South Africa posted 218/6? It seemed far too few, but this is a World Cup semi-final. Mark Robinson wanted his team to be tested and tested they were, as the Saffers took the game down to the last over, and then to the last three balls. England still needed two runs and Anya Shrubsole had just walked to the crease after Laura Marsh had been bowled by Shabnim Ismail. Ismail had a packed offside field but no-one out. Ismail bowled full and wide and Shrubsole flayed the ball to the cover boundary, immediately lofting her bat in triumph....and relief!

In truth it should never have got to that stage, after England had got to 52/1 after the first 10 over powerplay, having lost Lauren Winfield (20). South Africa will be kicking themselves. They had helped England along the way with several wides, many mishandled by keeper Chetty. In total they gave away 17 runs in wides, and gave England an extra 13 balls (10 wide deliveries and three no balls).

Tammy Beaumont makes it home as Lizelle Lee takes evasive action
©Don Miles
England continued to make serene progress to 139/2 with Sarah Taylor making 54 off 76 balls. But when she was run out England suddenly got the collywobbles. Heather Knight (30) smashed a Sune Luus full toss to the right of Laura Wolvaardt at square leg. She instinctively grabbed at the air and plucked the ball into her hands. Two balls later Luus bowled Nat Sciver behind her legs and suddenly England were wobbling on 145/5. It was down to Fran Wilson (30) and Katherine Brunt to try and steady the ship.

They seemed to have it back under control, although Brunt (12) was struggling to get the ball away. She succumbed in the 43rd over, but then Jenny Gunn (27*) came in to join Wilson to play the key knock, in particular taking two boundaries off the 47th over from Ismail. It took the run rate below a run a ball. Wilson was caught behind ramping with six needed, but there was still plenty of time. But there was still drama to come, with three needed off the last over. Ismail dropped Gunn off the first ball. Gunn took a single off the next ball, and then Marsh was bowled third ball. The stage was set for Shrubsole!

Lightning hands from Sarah Taylor accounts for Trisha Chetty
© Don Miles 
Earlier South Africa had won the toss and decided to bat and would have been hoping for a decent start from openers Laura Wolvaardt (66) and Lizelle Lee, but Lee (7) went early bowled off stump by Shrubsole swinging wildly to the legside. It came after a period of pressure from England's openers - Shrubsole and Brunt, after a nervy first over from Brunt.

As the powerplay came to an end Nat Sciver was thrown the ball and in her second over a great legside stumping accounted for Trisha Chetty (15).
Meanwhile 18 year old Laura Wolvaardt was doing what she has done all tournament - making runs - mainly through exquisite drives. But England worked her out and began to starve her of full balls, with Alex Hartley causing her particular problems as she tried to hit everything through the offside, often in the air. If Hartley could have fielded off her own bowling then she could have accounted for Wolvaardt midway through her innings.

Another drive from Laura Wolvaardt
© Don Miles
Progress was slow with Mignon du Preez (76*) and Wolvaardt scoring only in singles. In the 32nd over skipper Heather Knight brought herself into the action. South Africa were 124/2. Wolvaardt went back to a full ball which kept a little low and was bowled. In the same over Marizanne Kapp was dropped first ball before she was run out two balls later, by smart work from Shrubsole and Taylor.

The powerplay came and went without any noticeable injection of pace into the laconic South African innings. As the last 10 overs approached South Africa were on 157/4, but they could only add 61 in those last 10 overs losing Dane van Niekerk to another run out; and Chloe Tryon caught and bowled by Gunn.

Neither du Preez nor Sune Luus (21) could play the big shots in those final overs and South Africa finished on a disappointing 218/6. England would have been the happier of the two teams. Little did they realise how close it would be!


  1. What a tense and exciting finish it was to a brilliant close game! I have no fingernails left!

    England were a bit lucky at times but I feel they just about did enough to justify the eventual win. They saved a few runs in the field and didn't give away many extras. They also stuck at the task when batting and never gave up. Taylor was impressive yet again both with the bat and gloves. An England side of a couple of years ago might have folded under that pressure and a side who really were "bad" at chasing simply wouldn't have made that chase. Much credit must go to SA for their brave and skilful performance which brought them so close. I thought Wolvaart and Khaka were excellent today.

    I was less impressed by Luus's bowling which seemed to rely on luck and mystery in how many times she would bounce the ball (0, 1 and 2 were all seen today) more than how she'd flight or spin it. A lot of "trash", as commentator Sanjay Mandrekar called it, was bowled. It can't be intentional, and surely the coaches can't be encouraging it because regular full tosses and double bouncers don't make for good bowling...

    England owe Jenny Gunn a lot for her nerveless performances under pressure over the last couple of weeks. She's really shown her value to the side! Now it's onto Thursday and we'll see who England will face at Lord's. I'll be rooting for India I think!!


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