England rout South Africa to storm into the final...

England rout South Africa to storm into the final

 Sports Desk daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 03:36 PM, 31 March 2022  

England rout South Africa to storm into the final

England rout South Africa to storm into the final

Danni Wyatt's century and Sophie Eccletone's sensational six-wicket haul helped England book a place in the final of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022, beating South Africa by 137 runs in Christchurch.

Danni Wyatt's 129 off 125 set the tone for England after they were put in to bat first. She was given multiple lifelines through dropped catches by South Africa and she made them pay, propelling England to 293/8 in a crunch semi-final.

Sophie Eccelstone ran through South Africa's middle and lower-order with figures of 6/36, her best ODI bowling figures and the best in this year's World Cup as well.

Having lost their first three games in the World Cup, few had given England a chance to advance to the next stage and even fewer to the finals. Since then, England have played each game as a virtual knockout and now find themselves defending the title they won in 2017.

South Africa's dream run in the World Cup came to a screeching halt as they were outplayed by England in all three departments.

It was the worst possible start for South Africa, as the in-form batter and the leading run-scorer of the tournament – Laura Wolvaardt walked back without troubling the scorers. Anya Shrubsole took an incredible return catch as England celebrated a massive scalp.

Shrubsole would do even more damage, as Lizelle Lee's torrid time with the bat continued. Lee flicked an inswinging delivery straight into the hands of Nat Sciver at mid-wicket, perishing for 2. 

Skipper Sune Luus and Lara Goodall then steadied the ship, stitching together a 36-run stand. But a brilliant delivery from Kate Cross got through Luus' defence, sending her packing for 21 in the 12th over.  

The introduction of Charlie Dean into the attack piled further misery on the South African cause, as Goodall's attempted scoop backfired miserably. She missed the ball completely, with Dean knocking over her timber for 29. 

Mignon du Preez and Marizanne Kapp had to once again rebuild the innings but Ecclestone ran riot through the rest of the batting lineup, picking up all the remaining six wickets, starting with South Africa's 'crisis woman' Kapp. 

Kapp's wicket triggered a collapse, with the South Africa succumbing to the pressure of the climbing required run rate. Chloe Tryon tried to heave her way out of trouble but was caught at mid-wicket by Nat Sciver. Du Preez tried a cheeky shuffle but played around it, thus all but ending any hopes South Africa had left.

Trisha Chetty and Shabnim Ismail delayed the inevitable with a 38-run stand before Eccelstone picked up the last three wickets in two overs to book a date with their Ashes rivals in the finals. 

Earlier, Danni Wyatt chanced her arm to score 129 from just 125 deliveries at Hagley Oval as the reigning champions blasted their way to 293/8 from their allotted 50 overs.

M30 Mid-Innings Highlights: South Africa v England
It was a fortuitous knock at times, with Wyatt dropped on a total of five occasions - including twice in one Ayabonga Khaka over - as she took the attack to South Africa's bowlers and put their usually reliable fielders under pressure. 

The veteran hit 12 boundaries during her entertaining stay and was ably supported by Sophia Dunkley (60) and Amy Jones (28) during the middle overs as England gained the upper hand in the cut-throat semi-final.

Experienced duo Ismail (3/46) and Kapp (2/52) bowled well, but England and Wyatt in particular scored freely against South Africa's other bowling options.

Kapp provided South Africa the perfect start when she dismissed opener Tammy Beaumont (7) with the score on 10, before skipper Heather Knight joined Wyatt and the duo set about steadying England's innings.

While Knight was overly cautious at the crease, Wyatt attempted to attack and Kapp provided her with a lifeline when she dropped an easy chance in the field.

Khaka (1/66) trapped Knight LBW for one to add to England's woes and it was 77/3 shortly after when Nat Sciver fell to veteran quick Ismail for just 15.

Wyatt and Jones then put on 49 for the fourth wicket, until Kapp was introduced back into the attack and picked up her second when Chloe Tryon hung on to a good catch to send Jones packing.

Dunkley proved the perfect foil for Wyatt as the duo combined for a 116-run stand that set England on their way and helped them to their big score.