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SA outplayed by England in semi to crash out of ICC Women’s World Cup

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Anya Shrubsole of England celebrates after dismissing Laura Wolvaardt of SA in the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup semifinal at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 31 2022.
Anya Shrubsole of England celebrates after dismissing Laura Wolvaardt of SA in the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup semifinal at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 31 2022.
Image: Phil Walter/Getty Images

SA were knocked out of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in a crushing defeat by defending champions England in Thursday's lopsided semifinal at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand.

England, having been sent in to bat first, set SA the highest World Cup target of 293/8 with Danni Wyatt smashing a fluid century.

The Proteas simply did not pitch in their chase and looked a shadow of the team that won five closely-fought group stage matches, including a win over England last week.

SA hardly moved into second gear as they capitulated to a meek 156 in 38 overs to lose by 137 runs with 12 overs to spare.

It was the second time in two World Cup tournaments SA lost in the semifinals against England.

Hilton Moreeng and his side will have to wait for another year for a shot at a World Cup on home soil when they host the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in February next year.

The Proteas have won an overwhelming majority of their ODI games chasing in the past two years, and in this World Cup it came as no surprise when captain Sune Luus chose to field after winning the toss.

SA got the early breakthrough they needed when they removed dangerous Tammy Beaumont (7 off 14), captain Heather Knight (1 off 19) and Nat Sciver (15 off 18) to exert pressure.

SA had England in shackles at some point on 126/4 after 25 overs but let their opponent recover as they dropped Wyatt four times on 22, 36, 77 and 116.

Wyatt made them pay with a 129 runs from 125 balls.

She was at the centre of crucial partnerships with Knight (41), Sciver (26) and Amy Jones (49). But it was the fifth-wicket stand off 116 from 112 balls with Sophia Dunkley (60) that led to SA needing to produce the highest successful chase in a women’s World Cup match.

SA struck a blow every time England looked to get away but England found a way to rebuild each time after losing a wicket.

Dunkley kept the scoreboard ticking after Wyatt was eventually caught, smashing a flowing 60. Spinner and tournament leading wicket-taker 22-year-old Sophie Ecclestone smashed 24 from 11 balls at the end.

SA’s chase got off to the worst possible start when Laura Wolvaardt, the tournament's leading scorer with 433 runs from eight matches at a boisterous average of 54.12, was sent back to the dugout for a two-ball duck in the second over off Anya Shrubsole’s bowling.

Wolvaardt could be overtaken by Rachael Haynes (429 runs), Meg Lanning (384) or Alyssa Healy (339) when they run out for Australia in Sunday’s final against England at the same venue.

Fired-up Shrubsole stuck a knife into the hearts of Proteas in the fourth over as she removed Wolvaardt’s opening partner Lizelle Lee (2 off 15). Kate Cross turned it in the 12th over to get rid of Luus (21 off 24) and leave SA tottering on 44/3.

Lee will be disappointed with her contribution in the tournament where her scores of 2, 9, 17, 36, 9, 6 and 2 belie her status as the reigning ODI player of the year.

The tie was over as a contest in the 19th over after Laura Goodall’s middle stump was uprooted by the spin of Charlie Dean to perish for 29 off 49. Goodall’s dismissal left SA battered and bruised on 67/4 and needing a further a further 227 runs for victory.

Mignon du Preez (30 off 48), Marizanne Kapp (21 off 28) and vice-captain Chloe Tryon (3 off 10) tried to pull it back as the match sped away from SA’s grasp.

Wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty (21 from 28) and Shabnim Ismail (12 off 14) also tried to get SA closer to the target, but the damage had been done.

The SA fast bowling unit carried the team through the group stages with Shabnim Ismail (14 wickets), Kapp (12), Ayabonga Khaka (12) and Masabatha Klaas (9).

Ismail, Kapp and Khaka and England’s Ecclestone and Dean round off the top the list of top wicket takers.

The SA batters, on the other hand, apart from Wolvaardt, will have a lot of reflection to do during the two-and-half-day trip home.

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