Day 25 Talking Points: England complete dream tournament comeback to march into the final
South Africa v England
Hagley Oval, Christchurch - Match 30
Wyatt finds form at the right time
England have had issues with their opening pair throughout the ICC Women's World Cup and are the only team yet to reach 50 runs without loss, but Danielle Wyatt more than played her part in the semi-final with a fine century.
Wyatt started CWC22 batting at No.6 but after England lost their first two matches she was sent to the top of the order to open with Tammy Beaumont.
It took a while for Wyatt to make her mark but she finally found form at the pointy-end of this World Cup with 76* against Pakistan and now 129 off 125 balls against South Africa.
The 30-year-old rode her luck as she was dropped by Lizelle Lee on 22, Marizanne Kapp on 36, Lara Goodall on 77, Shabnim Ismail on 116 and Mignon du Preez the next ball, but Wyatt still had the guile to make them pay with a crucial ton that ensured England set South Africa an imposing target.
South Africa’s semi-final torment lingers
Just as they did at the same stage of the Women’s World Cup in 2017, South Africa have again been beaten by England in a semi-final.
South Africa put themselves in a strong position to go one better during the group stage, only losing to a dominant Australia and even getting the better of England in a final-over thriller.
Their path to the final was set up by Laura Wolvaardt (433 runs) and Sune Luus (270), as well as the damaging pace attack of Shabnim Ismail (14 wickets), Marizanne Kapp (12) and Ayabonga Khaka (12) that shows South Africa have the nucleus to be a contender.
But they ultimately weren’t able to reproduce that form under the pressure of a knockout clash, with a poor performance in the field and the lack of a top-line spinner exposing a batting line-up that seemed fragile as soon as Wolvaardt was dismissed for a duck.
England complete fairytale comeback
Nobody gave England a chance when they lost their first three games in the tournament. Five games later, they find themselves defending the title they won in 2017 against arch-rivals Australia in the final of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022.
England suffered a horrid start to the tournament, losing to Australia, West Indies and South Africa in the first three games. Thereafter, every game was a virtual knockout.
The turnaround started with a four-wicket win over India. England almost capitulated against New Zealand in the next game, almost losing the game from a winning position. They held their nerve and won the game by a wicket.
England were expected to win the games against Pakistan and Bangladesh and they did so in dominating fashion, rectifying their poor net-run rate in doing so.
By the time they faced South Africa in the semi-final, England were in top gear and the gulf showed in the match as they completed a dominating win to march into the final.
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