A stunning Player of the Match performance from Tazmin Brits and a match-winning bowling display from Ayabonga Khaka helped South Africa clinch a maiden ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final in front of a lively Newlands crowd in Cape Town on Friday.
Brits top-scored with a brilliant 55-ball 68, aptly supported by her opening partner, Laura Wolvaardt (53 off 44 balls), as the Proteas Women posted a competitive 164 / 4 before Khaka stood tall with outstanding figures of four for 29, alongside Shabnim Ismail (3 / 27), to restrict England to 158 / 8 to seal a memorable victory by six runs.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, South Africa made a measured start to the innings as Brits and Wolvaardt led the hosts to 37 / 0 in the powerplay before the pair brought up their half-century stand to guide the home nation to 67 / 0 at the end of the 10th over.
With the openers set at the crease, Wolvaardt continued to motor as she brought up her sixth T20I fifty, her second consecutive half-ton in the World Cup, before the right-hander was dismissed by a Sophie Ecclestone (3 / 22) delivery to leave South Africa 96 / 1 in the 14th over.
Despite losing Wolvaardt, Brits combined fantastically well with Marizanne Kapp (27) as the tall, bighitter raised her bat for her own back-to-back fifty, smashing six fours and two sixes, before eventually being dismissed in the 18th over with South Africa on 142 / 2.
Although the Proteas lost two quick wickets in Chloé Tryon (3) and Nadine de Klerk (0), Kapp dispatched two fours in the final over to propel the hosts to a defendable total of 164 / 4 in their allotted 20 overs.
In their defence of the target, South Africa were immediately put on the backfoot as England made a superb start to their chase, with Sophia Dunkley (28) and Danni Wyatt (34) aggressively aiding the English side to 53 / 0 after five overs before Ismail struck twice in the final over of the powerplay.
With Ismail dismissing Dunkley and Alice Capsey (0), South Africa were made to wait another five overs for the next wicket, as Khaka made the breakthrough to remove Wyatt and give the home side great impetus in the second half of the innings.
Despite another testing partnership between Nat Sciver-Brunt (40) and Heather Knight (31) worth 47 runs for the fourth wicket, Nadine de Klerk (1 / 17) was finally rewarded with a momentum changing scalp of Sciver-Brunt in the 17th over.
With the South African tails up in the field and a raucous Newlands crowd cheering every ball, the Proteas Women rallied as Khaka picked up three wickets in the 18th over, dismissing Amy Jones (2), Eccleston (1) and Katherine Sciver-Brunt (0) to rock the visitors.
Heading into the final over needing to defend 13 runs for victory, Ismail claimed the all-important wicket of Knight, clean bowling her leg-stump, before South Africa saw out the final three deliveries to secure a famous win and set-up a mouth-watering final against Australia on Sunday, 27 February.
Momentum Proteas 15 player squad for ICC Women’s T20 World Cup South Africa 2023:
Suné Luus (Titans) (Captain), Chloé Tryon (Dolphins) (Vice-Captain), Anneke Bosch (North West Dragons), Tazmin Brits (Garden Route Badgers), Nadine de Klerk (Western Province), Annerie Dercksen (Garden Route Badgers), Lara Goodall (Western Province), Shabnim Ismail (Dolphins), Sinalo Jafta (Western Province), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Ayabonga Khaka (Lions), Masabata Klaas (North West Dragons), Nonkululeko Mlaba (Dolphins), Delmi Tucker (Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province)
South Africa’s Fixtures – ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023
Sunday, 26 February – 15h00 (SAST)
Final: South Africa vs Australia (Newlands, Cape Town)
Image: South Africa celebrating their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final victory over England at Newlands in Cape Town (Gallo)