South Africa reach Women’s T20 World Cup semifinals after beating Bangladesh

Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits struck unbeaten half centuries during their unconquered 117-run opening partnership as South Africa thrashed Bangladesh by 10 wickets to reach the semifinals of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

The Proteas finished second in Group 1, behind defending champions Australia who won all their four matches.

South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka ended their group engagements on four points each. But the hosts made it to the semifinals as they have the best net run rate of +0.738 among the three teams.

New Zealand and Sri Lanka have NRR of +0.138 and – 1.460 respectively.

The Sune Luus-led side, thus, became the first South African team male or female, junior or senior to reach the final four of a major ICC event staged on their soil.

South Africa play Group 2 toppers England who are unbeaten so far in the second semifinal here on Friday.

Wolvaardt (66 not out off 56 balls) and Brits (50 not out off 51 balls) struck their team’s first half-centuries of the tournament as South Africa overhaul Bangladesh’s 114-run target with 13 balls to spare, reaching 117 for no loss in 17.5 overs on Tuesday.

Bangladesh opted to bat and the Proteas struck twice in the powerplay, with Murshida Khatun chipping Marizanne Kapp to mid-on for a six-ball duck and Shamima then skying Shabnim Ismail to midwicket.

From 22 for two, skipper Nigar Sultana Joty and Sobhana Mostary carefully rebuilt the innings and rotated strike nicely without peppering the boundary.

Sobhana was dropped by Brits on 25 but the third-wicket stand was snapped at 33 when she missed a slog sweep across the line and Nonkululeko Mlaba hit the stumps.

The 16-year-old Shorna Akter showcased her talent by lofting Mlaba over mid-off but soon departed when she was yorked by Ayabonga Khaka at 81 for four.

Kapp came back and showed her class with a slower ball that got the big wicket of Nigar Sultana, comprehensively bowled for 30.

Khaka repeated the yorker trick to get rid of Fargana Hoque but as the Proteas began to tire in the field, Bangladesh inched their way up to 113 for six.

South Africa’s reply was a fraught affair from the very start.

Nine runs came from the first four overs, Brits was dropped by Sobhana and Wolvaardt somehow survived a mix-up in the middle.

Wolvaardt hit a towering six over mid-on but Brits only survived thanks to Shamima missing two stumping chances off the spinners as they crawled to 43 for no loss from 10 overs.

The pressure gradually eased and the much-needed big overs eventually came.

Brits peeled back-to-back boundaries off Shorna’s leg-spin and Wolvaardt brought up her half-century from 48 balls by flaying Nahida Akter twice through the off-side.

Brits brought up her sixth T20 International half-century and two balls later, Wolvaardt struck successive boundaries to put her side in the final four.

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