Proteas are in the World Cup semis but tough tests await

South Africa’s girls cricketers are via to the semi-finals of the World Cup in New Zealand by advantage of the purpose they gained from their rain-abandoned sport in opposition to the West Indies in Wellington earlier as we speak. In second place on the desk, they’ve 9 factors from six video games, three factors behind table-topping Australia.

With 9 factors, it’s statistically inconceivable for greater than three groups to move them on the log, which suggests they go into their ultimate round-robin sport of the marketing campaign – in opposition to India in Christchurch on Sunday – with the cushion of understanding that they’ll lose and nonetheless qualify.

Naturally, good groups don’t suppose like this, however South Africa have been experiencing some mid-tournament angst of late, having been steamrollered by Australia, to allow them to give it their finest shot in opposition to the hot-cold Indians with out having to fret unduly in regards to the consequence.

Against the Wizards of Oz South Africa posted a useful 271 for 5 batting first (Laura Wolvaardt 90, Suné Luus 52) however had been blown away by the machine that’s Australia’s Meg Lanning within the chase. She scored 135 not out in 130 balls and, fact be informed, Australia’s five-wicket victory was gallingly snug, coming with 28 balls to spare.

After posting their highest whole of the event in opposition to Australia, the South Africans would have gone into the break with cautious optimism. As the Aussie innings progressed, nonetheless, such optimism bled away.

You may nearly see their self-belief fade earlier than your eyes as catches had been put down – by Trisha Chetty, Lara Goodall and Lizelle Lee, to call the three most blatant ones – and Lanning carved them to each nook of the bottom.

This Australian facet is a juggernaut, however the South Africans will argue they’d them in a spot of hassle at 45 for 2 when Rachael Haynes (17) was brilliantly caught within the deep by Mignon du Preez off Chloe Tryon.

It was a false daybreak. Lanning hit her straps and poor Tumi Sekhukhune, the fifth bowler, went for 68 runs in her seven. She ran Beth Mooney (21) out with a direct throw from mid-off, however with Masabata Klaas nonetheless out of the facet, the fifth bowler poser is proving difficult.

It hopefully received’t be an excessive amount of of a difficulty come Sunday in opposition to a robust Indian batting line-up that scored 277 in opposition to Australia and 317 in opposition to the West Indies, with Luus saying after the West Indies sport that she thought Klaas “should be okay” to play in opposition to India.   

When issues had been lastly deserted in Wellington earlier as we speak, South Africa had extricated themselves from a spot of hassle. At one stage in opposition to the Windies they’d ploughed to 22 for 4 (Wolvaardt a uncommon failure and treasured few from Lee) in an abbreviated 26-over sport earlier than self-correcting to finish on 61 for 4 due to Du Preez’s feisty 38 in 31 balls.

South Africas Mignon du Preez (L) performs a shot watched by the Australia’s wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy throughout the Women’s Cricket World Cup match between Australia and South Africa on the Basin Reserve in Wellington on March 22, 2022. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP by way of Getty Images)

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Phlegmatic campaigners that they’re, the South Africans received’t learn an excessive amount of into the purpose gained in Wellington. Neither will they get into an excessive amount of hand-wringing in regards to the ins and outs of the match state of affairs. The reality of the matter is that they began off this competitors with unconvincing wins in opposition to Bangladesh and Pakistan, earlier than priceless – however slim – wins batting second in opposition to champions England and hosts New Zealand.

New Zealand have had a disappointing event and received’t make the semis, with England’s probably victory in opposition to Pakistan of their final group sport that means that they may squeak into the semi-finals at presumably the West Indies’ expense.

Interviewed after the Windies sport, South African skipper Luus stated her facet had been anticipating to play India or England of their semi-final on both Wednesday or Thursday subsequent week. 

“We’re pretty pumped to be getting into that final – it’s been a dream of ours for so long. A win against India on Sunday would help with our momentum but, of course, we need to get past that semi first.”

South Africa’s finest probability of progressing to that ultimate lies not in Wolvaardt’s classicism or Marizanne Kapp’s apparently boundless capability for a scrap. Rather, it lies in the truth that this workforce is blissful.

It’s a curious factor to say – to fixate on happiness, an intangible at the very best of instances – however happiness makes for resilience, which is priceless at this stage of a event. Not solely is the inexperienced machine resilient, however the South Africans have discovered a approach to win, notably in shut matches in opposition to England and New Zealand. Whether by inspiration, perspiration, hook or criminal, the South Africans have burgled wins from probably the most unlikely locations. This will maintain them in good stead when the time comes.

But they should maintain their catches. If they don’t, they’ll lose their semi-final, irrespective of who they play. It’s that easy.

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