The Proteas Women have reached the World Cup semi-finals, after they thrashed Sri Lanka by eight wickets in Taunton on Wednesday.
It was another clinical bowling performance from the Proteas, who won their fourth match of the competition. They finished the match unsure of whether they needed to win their last match of the group stages – against world No 1-ranked Australia – to qualify for the semi-finals.
But, with Australia and England beating India and New Zealand respectively later in the day, and with India needing to play New Zealand in their final group match, it means one of them are going to go home, and the Proteas will go through regardless. It’s testimony to the way the Proteas have gone about their business in this tournament, having beaten two sides ranked above them, with just one defeat against England to their name.
Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp have played huge roles in getting them there. They occupy the top-two bowling spots in the tournament’s wicket-taking charts, and it was another fine display from the pair against Sri Lanka. After losing the toss and having to bowl first, Van Niekerk ended with figures of 4-24 and Kapp took 1-13 from five, meaning they now have 13 and 10 wickets respectively.
Sri Lanka were up against it from the onset on 5-2, and despite the 43-run stand which followed, they were never really in it due to the run rate being just over two an over. Chamari Polgampari and Dilani Manodara top-scored with 25 each, but five would be the top score from the bottom five as the last seven wickets fell for 53 runs.
Shabnim Ismail was excellent with the new ball as well as towards the back-end of the innings, with 3-14 from 7.3 overs, while Sune Luus weighed in with 1-12 from seven overs. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 101.
The response was a shaky one from the Proteas. The in-form Lizelle Lee departed in the first over as she edged one behind off the bowling of Sripali Weerakkody, and Trisha Chetty was bowled by captain and spinner Inoka Ranaweera.
The halfway break however seemed to do a world of good to Mignon du Preez and Laura Wolvaardt, who eased their way over the line with an unbeaten 79-run stand. With Net Run Rate on their mind, the boundaries flowed towards the end as Wolvaardt finished on 48, Du Preez on 38, seeing off the total with 26.5 overs to spare.
The Proteas face Australia in the final group-stage match on Saturday, and a victory against the world champions will allow them to finish in the top two and book themselves an easier semi-final fixture.
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