The England women’s cricket team booked their place in the finals of the Women’s ICC World Cup today in a nail-biting finish against the South Africa team, at a packed Lords Stadium. Chasing 219 and eight wickets down, No.10 ten Anya Shrubsole was told to wait for the off-cutter by Jenny Gunn who was going solid on 27 not out, and with two wickets remaining, the England batsmen were certainly under a lot of pressure. Instead, Shrubsole stepped out and opened her arms for a magnificent drive to reserve the host team’s place in the final of the World Cup.
The South African posted a decent score of 218, after a great half century by teenager Laura Wolvaardt. It was Wolvaardt’s seventh half century and 76 by former skipper Mignon du Perez. Perz stood tall till the end, but the score seemed a little less than what it would take to win the game, and in the end that proved just about right.
However, the Proteas struck back with a great performance with the ball, with Ayabonga Khaka returning with figures of 2 for 28 in her 10 overs. England’s near collapse in the middle overs, that started with Sarah Taylor’s run out by her captain Heather Knight who was in turn done in done by a loose full toss from leggie Sune Luss. Moments later, Natalie Sciver was clean bowled through her legs, and the game was on for the South Africans. Sarah Taylor’s wicket was the big one after she had brought up her 18th ODI half century.
The hail of wickets did not prove to be enough for the South Africans, as Gunn and Fran Wilson put on a stand of 40 determined runs to put the sails on the Proteas fight back and take the England team to the final of the tournament.