Daniel Watt’s bat and Sophie Ecclestone’s spin beat South Africa, Australia will clash in the final

Christchurch: Defending champions England beat South Africa by 137 runs on Thursday with spinner Sophie Ecclestone’s superb bowling after a memorable century from opener Daniel Watt. With this, she entered the final of the Women’s One Day World Cup. Watt (129 off 125 balls, 12 fours) took full advantage of the opportunities she got during her innings, getting her five lives to help her score her maiden century in the World Cup. Apart from them, Sophia Dunkley played a half-century of 60 runs in 72 balls as England posted a mammoth score of 293 for eight after being invited to bat. South African team came under pressure in this knockout match and chasing the target was reduced to 156 runs in 38 overs.

South Africa, who reached the last four as the second best team from the league stage, had also knocked India out of the competition, but in this match they succumbed to pressure. In the very second over, the team lost the wicket of tournament’s highest run-getter Laura Wolwart, who was caught by fast bowler Anya Shrubsole (2 for 27) off her own ball. The team could not recover from this setback. Left-arm spinner Ecclestone finished the job for England by winding down the order. He took six wickets for 36 runs in eight overs. Apart from this, he played an innings of 24 not out in 11 balls to take England close to 300 runs.

England registered five consecutive victories while they were in danger of being knocked out of the tournament after the first three losses. The team will now look to clinch a fifth title for which it will face Australia, a familiar rival for it, in the final.

The Australian team will also be looking to clinch a record seventh title. England captain Heather Knight, referring to her comeback from a disappointing start in the tournament, said, “It was our full performance that we were looking for. Very happy that the players played their best cricket when everything was at stake.

“I think the knockout cricket we have been playing for the last four matches has helped us,” he said. Australia have not lost a single match and the team is in great shape, with regards to their clash in the final on Sunday, Knight said, “We will go as ‘underdogs'”. We have played cricket with a lot of energy in the last few weeks and we have to keep that up in the last match and hopefully we can do that on Sunday.

Shrubsole displayed excellent swing bowling which broke the backbone of South Africa’s batting. Wolwart’s opening partner Lijle Lee became his second victim. Kate Krauss dismissed South African captain Sune Luos on a beautiful ball and South Africa again lost wickets. South Africa also had to bear the brunt of laxity in the poor fielding at the start of the match. However, his decision to bowl after winning the toss in this pressure-filled match also raises questions. Then it was South Africa’s good performance in the tournament. Team captain Luce said, “We had to do our best today and we couldn’t do that. Now we need to work on our game. But I think our campaign was great.


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