As the rain clouds loomed heavy over Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday 5th March, Australia and South Africa both were just praying to not meet with the same fate as the previous match between India and England concluding in India reaching finals by the virtue of superior performance and result in the group stage.
However, after the first semi-final being entirely washed out before the second game clouds slightly parted letting the game commence and not let South Africa qualify without any effort making it to the finals of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup similar to what happened between India and England only in the previous game.
South Africa won the toss and decided to bowl first, as Australian openers started cementing a partnership from the initial stages. However, after 4 overs, South African bowler Ayabonga Khaka made the breakthrough scalping the wicket of Alyssa Healy. However, Australia soon moved on from the loss, as captain Meg Lenning and Beth Mooney kept the scoreboard ticking.
The third-wicket partnership seemed to take the game away from South Africa, but Nadine de Klerk provided the much-needed development, by taking Beth Mooney out of the equation in the 9th over. In the following two overs, Australia lost 2 more wickets, as South Africa seemed to be turning the game around to their side.
Captain Lenning kept Australia’s hope alive and by the end of the 20th over, Australia managed to settle for a total of 134 with the loss of 5 wickets.
Before the second innings, rain once again delayed the gameplay and after some time a revised target of 98 runs from 13 overs was introduced for South Africa. South Africa though started with a dominant performance, but soon opener Lizelle Lee departed without much of a contribution. Captain Dane van Niekerk and soon after Mignon du Preez followed the same path as Lee, leaving South Africa under a fresh cloud of doubt.
Sune Luus though tried to turn things around in the middle but she too fell under the spell of Megan Schutt. The only meaningful fight was delivered by Laura Wolvaardt, contributing a blitzkrieg 41 runs off just 27 balls, giving Australia great scare and a run for their money.
However, without much support from her teammates and only getting the appropriate chance almost to the end of the game, Laura’s contribution was in vain, as South Africa fell 5 runs short of Australia’s set target losing their only chance of qualifying for the finals of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.