England batsmen versus SA bowlers key contest in World Cup semi

17 July 2017 - 15:02 By Telford Vice
Dane van Niekerk. File photo.
Dane van Niekerk. File photo.
Image: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Don’t make plans that might get in the way of you from watching England’s innings against South Africa in their World Cup semi-final in Bristol on Tuesday.

That the match will be a contest between England’s batsmen and South Africa’s bowlers is apparent from a glance at the rankings.

Tammy Beaumont‚ Heather Knight‚ Natalie Sciver and Sarah Taylor — Englishwomen all — are among the top 10 runscorers at the tournament.

All four have scored a century at the World Cup. Sciver has two hundreds.

South Africans Dane van Niekerk‚ Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail all lurk among the top 10 leading wicket-takers.

Between them they own four of the dozen hauls of four wickets or more taken at the tournament.

Leg spinner Van Niekerk is the only bowler to take at least four more than once. She’s done so three times in six games.

Another leg spinner‚ Sune Luus‚ took 5/67 in South Africa’s last round robin game against Sri Lanka in Taunton on Saturday — one of only four five-wicket hauls claimed at this World Cup.England’s most successful bowler is slow left-armer Alex Hartley‚ who is 13th on the list‚ while South Africa’s best batsman is Lizelle Lee‚ who is 11th.

All of which has earned South Africa their second trip to the semis in the six editions of the tournament in which they have featured.

The first time‚ in 2000‚ they were drilled by nine wickets by Australia.

But this is a different team playing with a different confidence and planning a different outcome.

“Once you get into the semi-final there’s no ‘this is a more superior team’ or ‘this is the inferior team’‚” Luus said.

“I think everyone is equal once they have reached this stage. Both teams have done really well to get there — there’s a reason why every team is in the semi-final.”

And‚ of course‚ in the final.