Australia holds on to nerves to beat India while South Africa leaves England stunned: ICC 2023 Women’s T20 WC Semi-Final Roundup
The two semi-final matches of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 were packed with excitement and thrill, with both matches going right down the wire and only getting decided in the last over.
The first match saw India giving their all against Australia only to come up an inch short of the victory line, as the Aussies made it to yet another final. The major surprise came in the second match, where South Africa stunned the inaugural champions, England.
Semi-Final 1: Australia beat India by 5 runs
India came very close to beating the mighty Australians in a semi-final game that went right down the wire, but ultimately, they ended up faltering at the last step. The Aussies won the game by 5 runs and qualified for the final of a T20 World Cup for the seventh consecutive time.
Winning the toss, Australia decided to bat first and it proved to be the right call. Alyssa Healy first did the scoring, and when she was dismissed on 25, it was Beth Mooney and captain Meg Lanning’s turn to take the five-time champions’ score forward.
Mooney scored 54 runs from 37 balls before losing her wicket to Shikha Pandey, but it did not stop the Aussies from playing their natural game, as highly-rated all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner justified her reputation by scoring 31 runs from 19 balls.
Meanwhile, Lanning stole the show with a fantastic 34-ball 49, which included 4 fours and a couple of sixes. She remained unbeaten till the end, as Renuka Singh, Radha Yadav and Sneh Rana all conceded 8+ runs per over.
India was all over the place in the first few overs of the run chase, as the top three of Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana and Yastika Bhatia all got out in single-digit scores. While the openers scored 11 runs between them, Bhatia could only score 4 runs before she was run out.
It then seemed that India was standing on the verge of a collapse, with very few hopes of a turnaround, but Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur played knocks to cherish. Rodrigues was the chief aggressor as she scored 43 runs in only 24 balls, with their strike rate being 179.17.
On the other hand, Kaur also was superb with the bat, leading the team from the front and scoring a 34-ball 52. Unfortunately for India, both of them lost their wickets in quick succession, which helped the Aussies get back in the game.
While Rodrigues edged a Darcie Brown delivery, Kaur was run out by the combined effort of Gardner and Healy. After their dismissals, none of the Indian batters could offer much of a fight, as the game tilted in Australia’s favour.
Deepti Sharma did get a last-ditch effort to keep the Indians in the game, but her unbeaten 17-ball 20 was of no use as India lost the game by just five runs. From Lanning’s team, Brown should receive most of the praise for her stunning figures of 4-0-18-2.
Semi-Final 2: South Africa beat England by 6 runs
While the first semi-final was pretty much on expected lines, considering Australia was the favourite to win the game, the second semi-final turned out to be a huge surprise. South Africa defeated England by 6 runs to qualify for the final, for the first time in the history of the competition.
The Proteas’ skipper, Sune Luus won the toss and opted to bat first, which turned out to be a fabulous call. Both of the hosts’ openers, Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits scored half-centuries, helping the team have a brilliant first-wicket stand.
The partnership finally ended after 96 runs in the 14th over, but it did not matter much as the new batter, Marizanne Kapp also had a good day at the office. She remained unbeaten on 27 runs, while Brits went on to score 68 runs from 55 deliveries, which included 6 fours and 2 sixes before she was dismissed by Lauren Bell in the 18th over.
Chloe Tryon and Nadine de Klerk had very short stays at the crease, but thanks to Kapp’s cameo, South Africa managed to put up a fighting total of 164/4. Except for Sophie Ecclestone, who picked up a three-wicket haul, none of the English bowlers had a good day at the office.
But like their opponents, Heather Knight’s team also had a good opening stand that took only five overs to bring up 50 runs. Danielle Wyatt played a cautious knock, but it was Sophia Dunkley who went full gung-ho, scoring a 16-ball 28 before losing her wicket to Shabmin Ismail in the last over of the powerplay.
It turned out to be a crucial over for the hosts, as after getting the important wicket of Dunkley, Ismail dismissed an in-form Alice Capsey for a duck. The responsibility was then on the vastly experienced Nat Sciver-Brunt to keep England going forward, and she did do a decent job at that.
However, Wyatt could not extend her knock for much longer, as she became a victim of Ayabonga Khaka in the 11th over, after scoring a 30-ball 34. Knight then gave Sciver-Brunt company, and while these two were at the crease, it seemed it was only a matter of time before England’s place in the final was confirmed.
But the last four overs completely changed the complexion of the match. Sciver-Brunt was dismissed by de Klerk in the 17th over before Khaka bowled an excellent 18th over where she got three wickets of wicket-keeper Amy Jones, all-rounder Ecclestone, and tail-ender Katherine Sciver-Brunt.
England needed 13 runs off the last over, which could have been chased down had Knight batted till the end, but Ismail turned out to be South Africa’s icon as he bowled the English skipper in the third ball of the over. Ultimately, England could not score more than 158 runs.