After thrashing Bangladesh by 10 wickets in their final group game on Tuesday, Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits struck unbeaten half-centuries to set up South Africa’s semifinal match with Group B leaders England (February 21). Bangladesh, who had already been eliminated, could only manage 113/6 from their 20 overs due to their inability to get going with the bat. Then, in a match where victory meant advancing to the next round, both of the hosts’ openers combined for a century stand.
Bangladesh was unable to take full advantage of the powerplay after choosing to bowl. Before the pressure came to Murshida Khatun, she played five consecutive dots before hitting an up-and-down drive to mid-off, where Nadine de Klerk pulled off an amazing feat. After a slow start of 11 off 16 deliveries, Shabnim Ismail pounced in the final powerplay over, forcing Shamima Sultana to top-edge her pull to midwicket. Bangladesh had laboriously gotten to a pitiful 23/2 from the first six.
Bangladesh lost wickets frequently, so they lacked strong forward partnerships or some late impetus to drive for a respectable total. Both Sobhana Mostary (27 off 30 balls) and Nigar Sultana (30 off 34 balls) started off to slow starts, but they both failed to pick up speed to make up for it. The Asian team struggled to a modest total of 113/6 despite substantial assistance from the hosts in the form of misfields and missed opportunities, while pacers Marizanne Kapp (2 for 17) and Ayabonga Khaka (2 for 21) were the top two South African bowlers.
The host team’s pursuit also got off to a sluggish start. Even though Wolvaardt hit Nahida Akter for six runs in the fifth over, South Africa did not perform significantly better in the powerplay, finishing at 26/0, but it is essential to note that all of its wickets remained intact. Poor catching and fielding by Bangladesh contributed to the openers’ steady progress to 43/0 at the halfway point before they decided to up the stakes. Now boundaries began to run more frequently.
With a long-on boundary in the eleventh over, the British helped South Africa reach fifty before facing Shorma Akter for back-to-back fours in the fourteenth to make up for the earlier mistakes. In a similar manner, Wolvaardt hit consecutive fours to start the 16th over from Nahida, bringing up her fifth T20I half-century with the latter in 48 balls while her companion needed 51 deliveries to reach her sixth fifty. With the score tied, Wolvaardt skillfully secured South Africa’s final spot in Friday’s second quarterfinal with one of her signature picture-perfect cover drives, enabling them to cross the finish line with 13 balls to spare.