11th over: England 45-1 (Wyatt 32, Knight 1) Khaka sends down five dots. Good cricket this. Ebb and flow. Nip and tuck. Bat v ball. Green v Blue. Wyatt drives a single off the last ball.
10th over: England 44-1 (Wyatt 31, Knight 1) Drop! Lizelle Lee grasses one at wide slip! Wyatt pokes at a length ball from new bowler Masabata Klaas but the chance goes begging. Wyatt then rubs a big dollop of sodium chloride in the wound by crunching a cover drive for four! Don’t run for that! Wyatt has looked very aggressive and moves into the thirties. Heather Knight still languishes on one run from 16 balls. She won’t be too fussed though with Wyatt at the other end keeping things moving. PowerPlay done.
9th over: England 35-1 (Wyatt 22, Knight 1)Ayabonga Khaka is on in place of Ismail and she struggles with her line first up, Wyatt cuts her away for back to back boundaries! An outside edge brings two more and a quick single brings Knight on to strike. REVIEW for LBW! Nip backer pins Knight on the pad but it looks a smidge high. Not out on the field… and stays that way – the impact was outside the line. South Africa lose a review. 12 off the over.
8th over: England 23-1 (Wyatt 11, Knight 1)Wyatt is middling everything but straight to a fielder each time! Five dot balls and then a change of tack, she drops and runs to pinch the strike.
7th over: England 22-1 (Wyatt 10, Knight 1)Wyatt cuts away in the air for four. England’s second boundary. The pressure valve just hisses slightly. It was uppish but just out of reach from the diving point fielder. A wide and a single nudge England’s score upward.
6th over: England 16-1 (Wyatt 4, Knight 1) Wyatt gets off strike with a single to square leg. Kapp then keeps Knight honest, reeling off five dots in a row. HK has just 1 from 11 balls so far, but she’s hanging tough against some probing seam bowling.
5th over: England 15-1 (Wyatt 4, Knight 1)Wyatt scythes a cut shot away in the air but into the gap, just a single. Knight gets off the mark with a single. Ismail looks threatening, the breeze at her back.
4th over: England 11-1 (Wyatt 2, Knight 0) Two slips in for Heather Knight. She watches Kapp sling one outside the off peg and then slip one down the leg-side for a wide.England remain the only side not to get a fifty opening stand in this tournament. Skipper Knight is at the crease early again.
Gone! Beaumont takes a step down the wicket to Kapp but ends up wafting at a back of a length ball, getting a tickle and the keeper gladly snaffles. England lose their first.
3rd over: England 10-0 (Beaumont 7, Wyatt 2) Beaumont and Wyatt look keen to get bat on ball, both a little guilty of losing their shape as they try and hit a tad too hard. Ismail bowls a tight and fast over, she pins Beaumont on the pad and there’s a big appeal but the umpire says no dice. It would have been ‘umpires call’ if SA had reviewed… Five dots and a single off the last.
2nd over: England 9-0 (Beaumont 6, Wyatt 2) Marizanne Kapp, England’s tormentor in chief the last time the two sides met, is on to bowl her slingy seamers. She starts with a wide. Wyatt then cuts away for a single and Beaumont gets away with a weird looking poke that goes wide of point. Movement through the air from Kapp.
1st over: England 6-0 (Beaumont 5, Wyatt 1) Tammy Beaumont drives the first ball of the match for four! A beauty first up. The outfield looks quick, the ball laced away to the fence. There’s a couple of singles, Wyatt gets of the mark with a tickle to third man. Beaumont is then cloth’d on the helmet with the final ball, she went to pull and missed, the short ball from Ismail clonking her right on the three lions badge. She’s ok though. Game on.
Here we go! Shabnim Ismail will have first use of the ball and here she comes to Tammy Beaumont. Danni Wyatt is at t’other end. PLAY!
The players belt out the anthems, there’s dappled sunlight and a bit of a breeze in Christchurch. The pitch is biscuit-brown-ish in colour, I’d say a malted milk. Word from the ground is there might be some assistance to the bowlers first up. Heather Knight admitted she would have bowled first. But England have the chance to get runs on the board.
South Africa are unchanged:
South Africa: Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus(c), Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty(w), Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka
Three’s a crowd.
Hello and welcome to this OBO of the second World Cup semi-final between England and South Africa from the Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
Predictably, the Aussies boshed their way past West Indies in yesterday’s match and they lie in wait for the victors today, looming yet dormant – like a big yella Dracula? Me either. It’s late here in South London.
Today’s day/nighter semi boasts the number one ODI batter – the Proteas’ vulpine Laura Wolvaardt – lining up against the number one ODI bowler in Sophie Ecclestone, England’s be-plaited spinning hero. The number crunchers at the ICC must be doing something right, Ecclestone sits at the top of the World Cup wickets column with 14 scalps and Wolvaardt is the tournament’s leading run scorer with 433 runs. Only one can prosper today.
England have momentum after four wins on the bounce but South Africa the recent muscle-memory of victory, they ran out winners by three wickets, with four balls to spare, when the two teams squared up in the group stages, a defeat that left Knight and co peering into the World Cup abyss.
We’ve been here before of course, England wobbled their way past South Africa in the semi-final at Bristol in 2017 on their way to lifting the trophy. Will history repeat or will South Africa take revenge? Let’s find out!
As ever, do get in touch if you are tuning in, I’d be glad of the company.
Play gets underway in 30 minutes time – 2pm local time, 2AM GMT and 12pm AEDT.
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