Wyatt, Ecclestone star as England beat South Africa by 137 points to reach final

Reigning champions England capitalized on superb performances from Danielle Wyatt and Sophie Ecclestone to beat South Africa by 137 runs and set up a final against Australia in the ODI Women’s Cricket World Cup ICC Thursday.

World Cup semi-final, SA v ENG as it happened: Wyatt and Ecclestone propel England to final

Wyatt’s first World Cup century saw England post an imposing 293/8 as Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley put in 116 for the fifth wicket.

In response, South Africa were rocked as Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee went down early before Ecclestone continued his red form to take 6/36 to eliminate South Africa for 156.

Tammy Beaumont started with attacking intent taking a four off Shabnim Ismail’s first ball but was caught by Marizanne Kapp’s bowling Trisha Chetty to leave England 10 to one. Heather Knight walked to the fold but never found her rhythm before leaving for one of 19 deliveries.

England then took advantage of Chloe Tryon’s spin as Wyatt led the scoring but partner Nat Sciver fell as Ismail got his first wicket, the right-hander unable to head a bouncer into space with Kapp holding the take having previously dropped Wyatt on a similar shot.

Tryon then took a crier to dismiss Amy Jones and end a promising 49-run partnership, with Jones launching into the side to leave England in a precarious position at 126 for four.

Dunkley joined Wyatt in the middle, with the fly-half well on the way to her century, but she survived a third fall, in this case when she was at 77 as Lara Goodall let the ball go straight through her hands for four.

Wyatt took full advantage as she raised her hundred, her first in the World Cup, to 98 balls with 10 fours, before being dropped again on 116 as Ayabonga Khaka’s poor day continued.

South Africa eventually kept a chance as Wyatt went for 129 from 125, with Lee holding onto a hold and repairing a previous fall as Masabata Klaas earned a deserved wicket.

Dunkley reached her fiftieth birthday soon after, with 62 balls, as she won consecutive half-centuries, to take England to 250 for five.

Katherine Brunt had been given the license to hit with less than five overs remaining, but was bamboozled by a slower ball from Klaas to roll it for nine.

Ecclestone and Dunkley clawed back any momentum South Africa had built up with that wicket before Dunkley left for 60 taken for a big mid-term drive.

Ecclestone was unfazed as he dispatched Ismail for three limits in the final before the fast bowler had the last laugh by beating the spinner for 24 as England finished on a whopping 293/8.

Anya Shrubsole had beaten England to victory in the 2017 semi-final against the Proteas, but here she delivered the ball, beating tournament top scorer Wolvaardt for a duck at second ball.

Lee called in Shrubsole’s follow, as Sciver latched onto a mid-wicket hold to reduce South Africa to eight for two.

Kate Cross was the second bowler to get a wicket in her first game as she beat captain Sune Luus for 21 before Charlie Dean stepped in to fire Goodall for 29 and put South Africa in all sorts of trouble problems out of 67 for four.

Dean had previously dropped Goodall and then dropped the dangerous Kapp, but his spin twin Ecclestone came to his rescue by taking Kapp out with a spinning delivery.

England were so relaxed they could share a laugh on the pitch at LBW’s poor review of Tryon, but the steely resolve returned as they were sent their way the very next ball by Ecclestone for see the Proteas crumble to 101 for six.

Mignon du Preez became Ecclestone’s third victim and 17th of the tournament, missing the ball while going for a paddle and seeing his bails fly off.

Dean hung on to a hold to fire Ismail as Ecclestone continued to press to leave South Africa on the brink of 148/8.

Ecclestone then completed his first international run at five wickets as Klaas was caught by Beaumont for three before finishing it off knocking out Chetty to finish with the best numbers of this World Cup to eliminate South Africa for 156 and set up a final with Australia on Sunday.

Short scores

England beat South Africa at Hagley Oval, Christchurch by 137 points

England 293/8 in 50 overs (Danni Wyatt 129, Sophia Dunkley 60; Shabnim Ismail 3/46)

South Africa 156 all out in 38 overs (Mignon du Preez 30, Lara Goodall 29; Sophie Ecclestone 6/36, Anya Shrubsole 2/27)

Player of the match: Danni Wyatt (England)

Contributions from ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020