Women’s T20 World Cup: South Africa hammer Bangladesh to seal semi-final spot

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Hosts South Africa reached the semi-finals of the ICC Womens T20 World Cup 2023 with a thumping 10-wicket win over Bangladesh in their last group game, here on Tuesday night.

The Proteas made heavy weather of chasing down a modest target of 114 set by Bangladesh, powered by their outstanding captain Nigar Sultana Joty’s 30. The hosts chased the target with 13 balls to spare as Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits chiseled out their team’s first half-centuries of the tournament when it mattered most.

It means Sune Luus’s side is the first South African team — male or female, junior or senior — to reach the final four of a major ICC event staged on their soil. They face an unbeaten and dangerous England team in Friday’s semi-final in Cape Town.

With Bangladesh opting to bat, Wolvaardt grassed a regulation chance in the second over to hint at that home ground pressure, Shamima Sultana adding salt to the wounds with a four two balls later.

But the Proteas still struck twice in the powerplay, Murshida Khatun chipping Marizanne Kapp to mid-on for a six-ball duck and Shamima then skying Shabnim Ismail to midwicket.

From 22 for two, Nigar Sultana Joty and Sobhana Mostary carefully rebuilt and rotated the strike nicely without peppering the boundary. Sobhana was dropped by Brits on 25 but the third-wicket stand was snapped at 33 when she missed a slog sweep across the line and Nonkululeko Mlaba hit the stumps.

The 16-year-old Shorna Akter hinted at her talent by lofting Mlaba handsomely over mid-off but soon departed when she was yorked by Ayabonga Khaka at 81 for four.

Kapp came back for a third ball and showed her class with a slower ball that got the big wicket of Nigar, who comprehensively bowled for 30. Khaka repeated the yorker trick to get rid of Fargana Hoque but as the Proteas began to tire in the field, Bangladesh was indefatigable and inched their way up to 113 for six.

Thereafter, South Africa’s reply was a fraught affair from the very start. Nine runs came from the first four overs, Brits were dropped by Sobhana and Wolvaardt somehow survived a mix-up in the middle.

Wolvaardt hit a towering six over mid-on but the Brits only survived thanks to Shamima missing two stumping chances off the spinners as they crawled to 43 without loss from 10 overs.

The pressure gradually eased and the much-needed big-overs eventually came. Brits peeled back-to-back boundaries off Shorna’s leg spin and Wolvaardt brought up her half-century from 48 balls by flaying Nahida Akter twice through the off-side.

Brits brought up her sixth T20I half-century and two balls later, Wolvaardt struck successive boundaries to put her side in the final four.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 113/6 in 20 overs (Nigar Sultana 30, Sobhana Mostary 27; Marizanne Kappp 2-17, Ayabonga Khaka 2-21) lost to South Africa 117/0 in 17.5 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 66 not out, Tazmin Brits 50 not out) by 10 wickets.

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