What England need to do ahead of Women’s Cricket World Cup semi-final against South Africa

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England are just one step away from the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup final...

England have managed to pull themselves together just in time to make it through to the ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final.

After such a disastrous Ashes series, England were always going to struggle playing Australia in their first match of the tournament, but fans were hopeful that this was just going to be a minor blip in an otherwise successful campaign.

This success however, did not come overnight.

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England suffered a shock defeat against West Indies after being bowled out for 218, and just a few days later lost to South Africa by three wickets with just four balls remaining.

This tournament has brought us some classic ODI moments, with many games coming down to the last few balls, and the finale of England’s first fixture against South Africa was one such nail-biting scenario.

Tammy Beaumont started off the English innings well, scoring 62 off 97 balls. She was helped by wicket-keeper Amy Jones who made half a century to bring England’s overall total 235.

However, South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp was on flying form, taking five wickets and a run-out.

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Next it was South Africa’s turn to bat and England’s bowlers couldn’t quite restrict them in time. Laura Wolvaardt made an impressive 77 off 101 balls while Sune Luus and Kapp helped with 36 and 32 respectively.

Laura Wolvaardt has been in fine form for South Africa this tournamentLaura Wolvaardt has been in fine form for South Africa this tournament
Laura Wolvaardt has been in fine form for South Africa this tournament | Getty Images

It was up to Trisha Chetty and Shabnim Ismail to see their nation across the finish line and the pair did so with just four balls to spare.

South Africa appear not to be missing their star player, Dane van der Niekerk, who fractured her ankle just before the World Cup began, as they have gone on to win all but one of their matches so far.

With South Africa to face yet again in the semi-final, what must England do to make sure they come out on top this time?

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In the 38 matches England and South Africa have played against each other, England have come out on top 29 times.

History suggests that statistically England have the advantage, but as we have seen earlier in this tournament, South Africa may edge their way to glory.

England have struggled to consistently scoring runs throughout the tournament so far, with a series of strong individual efforts being let down by a lack of team cohesion.

Nat Sciver scored a century against Australia, backed by Beaumont and Knight, while Beaumont top scored with 46 against the West Indies.

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Knight top scored with a half-century against India, while Sciver top scored again against New Zealand.

Against Pakistan, it was Danni Wyatt who brought England home with 76 off 68 balls and finally Sophia Dunkley scored 67 against Bangladesh.

To make it to the final, England’s top order must finally find a way to work as a unity, rather than leaving the run-scoring down to one individual.

England will need strong and confident performances from all of their top-order if they are to succeed against the Proteas.

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Lizelle Lee has the most ODI runs in the current South Africa squad against England but she has under-performed at this World Cup.

When restricting the South African lineup, it will be Wolvaardt who is set to pose the biggest threat.

England will be sure to rely on Anya Shrubsole to minimise South Africa’s overall score. Shrubsole has the best record for wicket-taking against South Africa out of her English counterparts, and as we saw in 2017, performs excellently under pressure in the knockout stages of tournaments.

Shrubsole also took two wickets during England’s first rendez-vous with South Africa this tournament

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Fellow bowler Sophie Ecclestone is once again set to be another key performer for England. Currently the tournament’s leading wicket-taker and the number one ODI bowler, she will be integral to the side’s hopes of making the final.

Throughout the tournament, South Africa have often found themselves winning by a the slimmest of margins. England cannot afford to lapse in concentration for even a second, as this may cost a single wicket or run that could make all the difference.

The Proteas have clearly got a strong side who have managed to fend off nearly every country in the World Cup, but they have also had luck on their side to keep them just on the winning side.

With such a strong batting lineup for England, especially now with Sophia Dunkley notching up half-centuries, England look to be the favourites, but must provide an assertive and assured performance if they are to meet either Australia or West Indies in Sunday’s final.

England play South Africa in the semi-final on Thursday 31 March.

Check out article on When England’s next match is to find out more.

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