England 87 for 3 (Wyatt 27, Beaumont 24) beat South Africa 85 (Tryon 27, Sciver 3-4, Shrubsole 3-11) by seven wickets
Another crunch game, another heartburn for South Africa.
Two nights after sensationally losing 9 for 28 against West Indies, South Africa collapsed from 55 for 4 to 85 all out, with Anya Shrubsole, Player of the Final at last year’s World Cup, taking a hat-trick to hasten the end. In the absence of Katherine Brunt, Natalie Sciver, who took the new ball, bowled an incredible 20 dot balls and finished with 3 for 4 to set up the game.
The pair had a combined contribution of 6 for 14 on the face of South Africa’s block-block-slog approach to hand the advantage on a platter to England. The target hardly caused a flutter, England chased down the runs in just 14.1 overs to put themselves in an excellent position to make the semi-finals. All they needed was a West Indies win over Sri Lanka to get there.
England blasted five boundaries in the first four overs, with Danielle Wyatt quickly unsettling the fast bowlers by giving them the charge. She raced to 17 off 14 balls, but shouldn’t have lasted beyond the first over. Chloe Tryon, among the better fielders, let her off by missing a direct hit at the bowler’s end from mid-off. This would repeat itself three more times; Tryon missing on each occasion.
With South Africa’s intensity and energy on the field lacking, the game was sealed even before the Powerplay finished. Although England lost a clutch of wickets, the result was never in doubt.
England resisted the temptation to play an extra seamer, and continued to persist with left-arm spinners Sophie Ecclestone, Linsey Smith and Kirstie Gordon. All three played a part in choking South Africa at different stages.
Lizelle Lee, who has been struggling for timing and form, ate up deliveries and limped to 3 off 15 in the first five overs. After plodding her way, she was out lbw playing all around a full Sciver delivery. The wheels truly came off when Marizanne Kapp and Dane Van Niekerk fell in the space of thee deliveries to leave South Africa reeling at 30 for 4 in the ninth over. Van Niekerk’s wicket could count as a lucky break as it deflected off the bowler’s hand after Kapp drilled it straight back.
In all, South Africa played out 43 dots in the first 10 overs, lost too many wickets and then got into a tangle because they didn’t have enough batting depth. Chloe Tryon tried to provide a late lift by muscling two sixes and a four in her 27, but fell in trying to score runs amid a clutch of lower order wickets.
England also lost three quick wickets, but their pulsating start in pursuit of a small target left them with no hiccups, Heather Knight and Amy Jones seeing them through without much fuss.