By Mark Gleeson
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Tazmin Brits propelled South Africa to an upset win in six runs against England on Friday, posting the highest score and netting four catches in Newlands as the hosts booked their place in Sunday’s Twenty20 Women’s World Cup final against Australia .
South Africa, winning the toss and opting to bat, set an impressive 164-4 target with the Brits scoring 68, then held on in a thrilling finish as England fell short of 158-8 from their 20 overs .
The Brits made important catches, including a spectacular one-handed dive, while seafarer Ayabonga Khaka won three wickets in the 18th over to slow England’s pursuit. Khaka ended with numbers from 4-29.
It is the first time South Africa have reached the final where they meet the defending champions in Newlands.
“We had to act boldly and freely and are proud of our performance,” said captain Sune Luus at the celebration after the game.
“It’s a great result, every game we play makes history and hopefully this is a turning point for women’s sport in South Africa,” she added.
The game ended in thrilling spectacle but started tepid as England restricted South Africa’s opening games to just three shots on goal in the first 20 balls before Laura Wolvaardt and the Brits began to break through the field and rack up runs.
They eventually put on 96 for the opening partnership before Wolvaardt played a leading edge and looped the ball up to be caught by Sophie Ecclestone’s Charlie Dean for 53 runs.
The Brits were helped by veteran Marizanne Kapp’s unbeaten 27 from 13 ball as South Africa set up a defensible goal while Ecclestone was England’s top bowler at 3-22.
In response, England got off to a flying start with 53 runs in the first five overs before Sophia Dunkley pocketed 28 runs against the Brits ahead of Shabnim Ismail.
England stayed the course, however, with Danni Wyatt on 34 and Nat Sciver-Brunt on 40, but Khaka’s last over, where she conceded wickets from Amy Jones, Ecclestone and Katherine Sciver-Brunt, turned the result in the home side’s favour.
Defending champions Australia, who have won five of the previous seven editions, beat India by five runs in Thursday’s first semi-final, also played at Newlands.
(Editing by Toby Davis)