Wolvaardt, bowlers power South Africa to semi-finals

Kaushiik Paul
New Update
Wolvaardt, bowlers power South Africa to semi-finals

South Africa players celebrate a wicket against Pakistan. © ICC

Laura Wolvaardt’s unbeaten half-century coupled with a disciplined bowling performance helped South Africa beat Pakistan by 17 runs in a Group B encounter and become the second team after India to book their semifinal spot in the ongoing T20 World Cup in Sydney on Sunday (March 1). This is also the second time South Africa have reached the semifinals after 2014.

Chasing 136, Pakistan were in all sorts of trouble losing Muneeba Ali (12), Omaima Sohail (duck) and Nida Dar (three) with just 26 runs on board. Javeria Khan tried to resurrect the innings with a 34-31 but was unluckily run out to leave her team in tatters. With already missing regular captain Bismah Maroof, who was ruled out of the tournament a couple of days ago due to a thumb injury, things went worse for Pakistan as they struggled to find boundaries against the likes of Shabnim Ismail, Dane van Niekerk and Sune Luus.

Although Aliya Riaz (39 not out) and Iram Javed (17 not out) tried their best towards the end of the innings, it was too late by then. Pakistan eventually finished at 119 for the loss of five wickets with their semifinal hopes almost in smoke.

publive-image Laura Wolvaardt raises her bat after completing her half-century against Pakistan in Sydney. © ICC

Earlier, it was Wolvaardt’s unbeaten 53 off 36 balls which propelled South Africa to 136/6 in 20 overs. Lizelle Lee, who scored her maiden T20I ton in the last match against Thailand, departed early edging a Diana Baig delivery behind the stumps before skipper Dane van Niekerk followed suit, clean bowled by the same bowler. It was also the first time Pakistan have dismissed both the opposition players inside the power play in a T20I.

It wasn’t the same free-flowing South Africa that was on display in the previous two games, instead, the likes of Marizanne Kapp and Mignon du Preez struggled against the Pakistan bowlers who maintained a tight line and length.

The duo of Du Preez and Kapp kept the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos with occasional boundaries before the former dragged onto her stumps trying to reverse sweep a Nida Dar delivery thus ending a 37-run third-wicket partnership. South Africa lost Kapp for soon after for a well-made 31.

Luus (12) and Chloe Tryon (10) also played their part but it was the 20-year-old Wolvaardt who took on the mantle to lift the Proteas innings. The right-hander started on a silent note scoring 15 runs from 17 balls without any boundary at one point of time but hit a flurry of fours to South Africa to a respectable 136 for the loss of six wickets. She was particularly brutal against Aimen Anwar and Anam Amin hitting four and three boundaries respectively towards the end of the innings.

Brief scores: South Africa 136/6 in 20 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 53*, Marizanne Kapp 31; Diana Baig 2/19) beat Pakistan 119/5 in 20 overs (Aliya Riaz 39*, Javeria Khan 30; Shabnim Ismail 1/17, Dane van Niekerk 1/17) by 17 runs. PoTM: Laura Wolvaardt