England has won both of the Women’s World Cups held on home soil and will have the chance to make it a hat-trick on Sunday at Lord’s after claiming a dramatic two-wicket win over South Africa in the final over of the semi-final in Bristol, yesterday.
What looked like being a straightforward victory when South Africa was restricted to 218 for six, proved to be anything but that as England faltered in reply only for Anya Shrubsole to hit the winning runs with two balls to go in a thrilling encounter. Contributions from Fran Wilson, who made 30, and 27 not out from Jenny Gunn proved crucial in the nerviest of finishes. After losing both openers fairly cheaply, Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight had come together and put on 78 with England seemingly on course for a comfortable win.
However, the pair fell within the space of eight deliveries, quickly followed by Nat Sciver and South Africa sensed blood. Wilson’s knock got England back on track with Gunn doing a sterling job at the other end, and despite losing Laura Marsh in the final over, Shrubsole saw them over the line.
As a result England will face the winner of tomorrow’s second semi-final in Derby where defending champion Australia takes on India.
Regardless of the opposition, the host nation will take plenty of confidence from a seventh straight victory in the tournament, with the bowlers delivering after the batters had shown in the first meeting between the sides. South Africa was unlucky despite half-centuries from Mignon du Preez and Laura Wolvaardt, it didn’t quite have enough to reach a maiden World Cup final.
SEMI FINAL – 2
India Vs Australia
County Ground, Derby, 3 pm IST