Wow, that a game!
It all started quietly enough. South Africa won the toss and elected to bat on a Bristol wicket that has been favoring setting a target. England bowled and fielded well, restricting SA to 218/6. The amazing Laura Wolvaardt (66) and ex-captain Mignon du Preez (76) were top scorers. Wolvaardt is still only 18, and clearly has a glittering career ahead of her, unless she decides to go to medical school instead which I understand is a possibility.
England started the chase solidly enough. At 139/2 with Taylor and Knight settled it looked like they would wrap the match up comfortably. Then there was a run out, a brilliant throw by SA captain Dane van Niekerk, to get rid of Taylor. This precipitated a collapse which left England at 166/5 with 10 overs to play. Thankfully Fran Wilson, Catherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn all chipped in with useful runs, but wickets continued to fall.
With one over left, England needed 3 to win. Shabnim Ismail, the pick of the SA bowlers, against Jenny Gunn.
Gunn smashed the first ball straight back at the bowler. Ismail tried to take the catch, but the ball was traveling too fast and it didn’t stick.
Ball 2: Gunn gets a single. 2 runs needed, 1 to tie.
Ball 3 is to Laura Marsh who has just come in and has faced only 2 balls. She is clean bowled.
Ball 4: the new batter is Anya Shrubsole. She’s not known for her batting, but somehow she managed to carve the first ball she receives through the covers for 4. England win by 2 wickets with 2 balls left to play.
So England go on to the final at Lords on Sunday. South Africa go home, reflecting on what might have been. The second semi-final will be Australia v India on Thursday.