Table toppers England will take on South Africa in the first semi-final at Bristol on Tuesday in 2017 Women’s World Cup. England have made a remarkable comeback after losing the first clash against India. They are unbeaten in the last six games. South Africa were placed fourth in the points table with four wins out of seven. England had beaten South Africa by a big margin of 68 runs in the group clash and they will look to perform an encore in the semis. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of their clash.
An impressive batting line-up: If England have posted six wins in a row, a lot of the credit goes to their batting line-up which have posted two scores of 300-plus, the only team to do so. They have four of their batswomen in the top 10 run-getters in 2017 World Cup. Tammy Beaumont tops the scoring chart with 372 runs @53.14 in 7 games. Natalie Sciver has scored two tons in this tournament alone. They have posted five tons so far in this tournament overall. Their batting will hold the key against South Africa.
Dependable skipper in Knight: England skipper is leading from the front, with both bat and ball. She has scored 333 runs @85.60 and taken 7 wickets as well. Her leadership too has been bang on. Knight looks confident to take England into the finals.
Law of averages: England have produced a miraculous comeback in the tournament. Losing their first game and then coming back to beat top teams such as South Africa and Australia needed some character. They have posted six wins on the trot. So, the law of averages may catch up with them.
South Africa strengths:
In-form openers: South Africa have a strong opening pair in Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt. They are the leading run-getters for their team with three fifties each. South Africa would need them to score again and put up a strong resistance against a supremely confident team like England. The two have put up 500 runs between themselves and hold the key once again.
Dan van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp: The two are leading wicket-takers so far in this tournament. Niekerk has been really impressive, taking 15 wickets so far in just 6 games. She took 4/0 in the game against West Indies. South Africa rely on her immensely to restrict opposition to a below-par score and then chase it down. Kapp too has played her part with 12 wickets in 6 games.
Lacking team effort: South Africa’s batting and bowling need to fire in unison to threaten England, who has a strong all-round strength. They have been brilliant performances from individuals from South Africa but they lack the complete the team effort, which can be so crucial in a big knockout game.
Prediction: After the initial shock loss to India, England have made a spirited fightback to win six matches in a row. They even beat Australia in a thrilling clash. South Africa have posted wins against weaker teams and hence, they have not been convincing enough. Our vote goes to England for their improved and brilliant comeback in the tournament.
Possible winner: England