South Africa are the underdogs as they face England on Tuesday in their first semi-final match for 17 years. Tom Sizeland previews the greatly-anticipated contest.
THE BIG PICTURE
September 2014 marked the beginning of a new era for the Proteas Women, when CSA decided to increase the number of professional contracts from six to 14. It was a year and a half after they were dumped out of the World Cup at the group stages, as the 13-year wait for a place in the top-four of a major tournament extended to another four years.
The results since have been up and down, but it wasn’t so much a matter of improving the personnel in the setup, as a matter of getting a group of talented individuals to produce the goods all at once. That has happened. The Proteas Women, so far at least, have been the success story of the tournament.
The only sides they’ve lost to so far, are the top-two teams in the tournament. The Proteas went into this as the No 6 side in the world, but they’ve beaten two sides ranked higher than them, as well as the two sides below them, en route to sealing the semi-final spot, with a game to spare. One of the sides they lost to were hosts England, and they meet again in Bristol on Tuesday for a place in the final.
When England beat the Proteas in the group stages, it extended a dismal record that has seen South Africa win just one of the last 18 matches between the sides. It was the one match in the tournament so far in which the SA bowlers struggled to mount any pressure, as England amassed 373-5. What was encouraging, was that the South Africans put up a fight with the bat as they scored 305-9, but they’re going to need both disciplines to come together against a side that have built themselves up as the favourites for the tournament, with the one blip coming against India earlier in the tournament.
Trisha Chetty and Mignon du Preez
The middle order is an area that needs some work. The side have relied heavily on cheaply bowling sides out, and excellent starts by Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt. There’s a void in that middle order, and there has been for some time. Trisha Chetty, at No 3, has a high score of 37 from her five innings, which isn’t good enough against sides which have the likes of Sarah Taylor and Meg Lannings coming in at first drop. For all of their brilliance with the ball, Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp have five single-figure scores between them in this tournament.
Mignon du Preez is the most industrious cog in that middle order. She has 105 caps of international experience and she needs to orchestrate the side through the middle overs, whether it be building or chasing totals. She’s made five starts in the tournament, but has a high score of 43. A big knock from her, complemented by a solid start at the top of the order, and rounded off with a flourish by the likes of Chloe Tryon and Sune Luus, and they’ll be well in this match with the bowling stocks that they possess.
England: Tammy Beaumont, Laura Winfield, Sarah Taylor, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Fran Wilson, Katherine Brunt, Jenny Gunn, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Alex Hartley
South Africa: Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Trisha Chetty, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Dane van Niekerk, Sune Luus, Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka
11. Lizelle Lee – 262
12. Laura Wolvaardt – 258
25. Mignon du Preez – 153
40. Trisha Chetty – 91
44. Chloe Tryon – 81
1. Dane van Niekerk – 15
2. Marizanne Kapp – 12
7. Shabnim Ismail – 9
13. Sune Luus – 8
43. Moseline Daniels – 3
South Africa: LWWLW
HEAD TO HEAD
P: 36 SA: 7 Eng: 26 NR: 3
Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images