Both England and South Africa were victorious in the final group matches of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup on February 21 at Newlands in Cape Town. As a result, England and South Africa are now scheduled to face each other in the tournament’s semi-finals. South Africa won over Bangladesh in the second game of a doubleheader by ten wickets, although despite the size of the margin of victory, South Africa’s performance was not totally impressed.
The tournament hosts have pulled off a great escape after losing to Sri Lanka in their opening group game, chasing down 114 in their final match of Group 1 to seal a spot in the semis.
South Africa made a nervous start to the chase, with the young Bangladeshi bowlers causing all sorts of problems for Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits.
The home side managed just 26 runs in the Powerplay but survived several scares to ensure plenty of wickets in hand.
And they didn’t need that support, raising the scoring rate in the back third of the innings as both batters brought up half-centuries.
It was Player of the Match Wolvaardt who hit the winning runs, finishing unbeaten on 66* and wrapping up victory with 13 balls to spare.
The scenes in the stands and down in the dugout were a mix of relief and jubilation as South Africa completed their great group-stage escape.
South African opener Tazmin Brits hit a half-century to help her side beat Bangladesh and seal a semi-final spot.
The evening’s action had started when the Tigresses won the toss and opted to bat first, no doubt inspired by England’s record first-innings score on the same wicket just a few hours earlier.
But Bangladesh made a far more subdued start, reaching 23/2 at the end of the Powerplay.
Murshida Khatun was the first wicket to fall, dismissed by the experienced Marizanne Kapp without scoring.
And fellow opener Shamima Sultana joined her back in the dugout when she was caught off the fiery Shabnim Ismail.
The South African strike bowler conceded just five runs off her first two overs as the Proteas turned the screw, with Kapp going for six of her first two overs and spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba conceding just seven off her first two.
Decent knocks from Sobhana Mostary (27) and Nigar Sultana Joty (30) gave Bangladesh a platform, but quick runs were hard to come by as South Africa continued to keep the scoring under control.
Kapp and Ayabonga Khaka finished with two wickets apiece, with Mlaba and Ismail taking one each.
A late flurry from Nahida Akter (15* from 11) helped Bangladesh reach 113/6, but the home side would have been confident of their chances of chasing that target down, and Wolvaardt and Brits did just that.
South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka all had two wins from their four matches in Group One, but South Africa had a superior net run rate to finish second in the group behind unbeaten Australia.
The Tigresses may be homeward-bound after their fourth defeat in the group stage, but there is much reason for optimism.
In young Marufa Akter, Bangladesh has unearthed a real gem of a bowler, and she was unfortunate not to add to her wicket tally during a blistering opening spell against the Proteas.
Sobhana Mostary is out to reach the top in her own career and with Bangladesh success as the 21-year-old starts to make her mark at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023
Shorna Akter is another U19 Women’s team star who has stepped up to the senior level with ease on the evidence of this tournament. In contrast, young Sobhana Mostary has plenty of talent.
And with those two joining a steadily improving squad of established international players, the future looks far brighter than the results at this tournament may suggest.