Brits looks ahead to Australia in final after shock South African semi-final win

CAPE TOWN (AFP): Tazmin Brits said South Africa had nothing to fear in the final after producing a match-winning performance in the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final against England at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.

Brits hit 68 in a South African total of 164 for four, then held four catches, two of them exceptional, as England were restricted to 158 for eight.

“I still can’t believe it,” she told journalists after the South African players performed a lap of honour for a boisterous crowd of 7500 after upsetting the odds with a shock victory.

South Africa will meet Australia in the final at the same venue on Sunday.

“Australia might be the top team but you play the ball and not the players,” she said of the five-time champions.

Experienced all-rounder Marizanne Kapp took a more measured view.

“We have to get the emotion of today out of it and get ready for Sunday,” she said. “We know how tough Australia are.”

England captain Heather Knight acknowledged the performance of the hosts which made them the first South African team – male or female – to reach a white ball World Cup final.

“South Africa bowled brilliantly,” said England captain Heather Knight.

“They had a very clear, simple plan, took a lot of pace off and made it very tricky to score boundaries.”

But Knight said she believed England’s attacking strategy under new coach Jon Lewis was the right way to play.

“It’s certainly the way forward,” she said. “Unfortunately it didn’t come off today but the future looks bright.”

Friday’s clash matched Australia’s five-run win over India on Thursday for excitement but with a considerable increase in decibels as the home crowd got behind the host nation.

Brits and Laura Wolvaardt (53) followed up their unbeaten century opening stand in the last group match against Bangladesh by putting on 96 for the first wicket in 13.4 overs.

England threatened to make light of the target when Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley raced to 53 in the first five overs. But Brits said South Africa did not panic.

“There were a lot of nicks and stuff like that,” she said. “We knew we just had to stick to the basics.”

Fast bowler Shabnim Ismail made the first two breakthroughs with the help of catches by Brits at midwicket, first to dismiss Dunkley for 28 and then with a sensational diving effort that sent back Alice Capsey without scoring.

Brits held another diving catch to dismiss Wyatt (34) at backward square leg and then calmly held a high hit from the dangerous Nat Sciver-Brunt (40) at long-on.

Thirty-three runs were needed off 22 balls with six wickets in hand after Sciver-Brunt’s dismissal but medium-pace bowler Ayabonga Khaka took three wickets in the 18th over to put the target just beyond England’s reach.

Brief scores:

South Africa 164-4 in 20 overs (L. Wolvaardt 53, T. Brits 68; S. Ecclestone 3-22)

England 156-8 in 20 overs (D. Wyatt 34, N. Sciver-Brunt 40, H. Knight 31; S. Ismail 3-27, A. Khaka 4-29)

Result: South Africa won by 6 runs

Anderson fires England into control of Test against New Zealand

WELLINGTON (AFP): James Anderson validated his elevation to top spot in the world Test bowling rankings with a lethal opening spell as England took full control of the second Test against New Zealand on Saturday.

Veteran seamer Anderson snared 3-37, sending the Black Caps crashing to 138-7 when rain forced an early end to day two in Wellington, after England declared their first innings at 435-8.

Spinner Jack Leach also took three scalps, leaving New Zealand staring at a 297-run deficit with three days remaining.

Red-hot England are on course for a sweep of the two-match series, having won the first Test by 267 runs at Mount Maunganui with the same mix of aggressive batting and potent new-ball bowling.

Joe Root was unbeaten on 153 when captain Ben Stokes made his assertive declaration, leaving the tourists half an hour to attack the Black Caps top order before lunch.

Anderson answered the call, removing Devon Conway (0) and Kane Williamson (4) to have the hosts languishing at 12-2.

The exacting paceman removed Will Young (2) after the break to underscore why he’d been reinstated to No 1 in the ICC player rankings released this week – the oldest player to hold the perch, at 40.

All three batsmen feathered edges to gloveman Ben Foakes, extending the number of Test victims caught by a wicketkeeper off Anderson to 188 – 36 more than any other bowler.

Left-handers Tom Latham (35) and Henry Nicholls (30) launched a rearguard but both fell when attempting to reverse-sweep Leach (3-45), offering catches to fielders around the bat.

First-Test centurion Tom Blundell head reached 25 not out before play was called off at 5.45 pm (0445 GMT), and his free-wheeling captain Tim Southee was unbeaten on 23 — in an innings featuring two sixes.

About 25 overs were lost to the late rain, mirroring the premature finish to day one when the clouds opened.

However, England still have ample time to push for a seventh straight Test win and consign New Zealand to an eighth successive winless Test.

Earlier, England lost five wickets and racked up a further 120 runs in an entertaining opening session after resuming at 315-3.

Harry Brook fell in the third over for 186, having added just two to his overnight score.

His blazing knock formed part of a 302-run stand with Root – the second-highest in England’s Test history against New Zealand – having rescued the tourists from 21-3 early on day one.

Root effortlessly advanced from his overnight 101 to surpass 150 for the 14th time in his career.

The 32-year-old received lively support from Stokes — who blasted 27 off 28 balls — Stuart Broad (14) and Ollie Robinson (18).

Root struck 10 fours and three sixes, including a reverse ramp shot that cleared the boundary rope off the fourth ball he faced on Saturday, from Southee.

Seamer Matt Henry took the key wicket of Brook, holding onto a sharp caught-and-bowled chance, to return 4-100.


Scoreboard after day two of the second Test between New Zealand and England in Wellington on Saturday:

England 1st innings (overnight 315-3)

Z. Crawley c Blundell b Henry              2

B. Duckett c Bracewell b Southee           9

O. Pope c Bracewell b Henry               10

J. Root not out                          153

H. Brook c and b Henry                   186

B. Stokes c sub (Kuggeleijn) b Wagner     27

B Foakes st Blundell b Bracewell           0

S Broad lbw b Bracewell                   14

O Robinson c Southee b Henry              18

J. Leach not out                           6

Extras (lb8, w2)                          10

Total (8 wkts, 87.1 overs)               435/d

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Crawley), 2-21 (Pope), 3-21 (Duckett), 4-323 (Brook), 5-362 (Stokes), 6-363 (Foakes), 7-389 (Broad), 8-424 (Robinson)

Did not bat: James Anderson

Bowling: Southee 24-5-93-1, Henry 22.1-3-100-4 (1w), Mitchell 9-1-61-0, Wagner 21-1-119-1 (1w), Bracewell 11-0-54-2

New Zealand 1st innings

T. Latham c Root b Leach                  35

D. Conway c Foakes b Anderson              0

K. Williamson c Foakes b Anderson          4

W. Young c Foakes b Anderson               2

H. Nicholls c Pope b Leach                30

D. Mithell c Pope b Leach                 13

T. Blundell not out                       25

M. Bracewell c and b Broad                 6

T. Southee not out                        23

Extras                                     0

Total (7 wkts, 42 overs)                 138

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Conway), 2-7 (Williamson), 3-21 (Young), 4-60 (Latham), 5-77 (Nicholls), 6-96 (Mitchell), 7-103 (Bracewell)

Still to bat: M. Henry, N. Wagner

Bowling: Anderson 10-1-37-3, Broad 12-2-50-1, Robinson 8-4-6-0, Leach 12-1-45-3

Rain ended play at 16:45 (local)

Toss: New Zealand

Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (NZL), Rod Tucker (AUS)

TV umpire: Aleem Dar (PAK)

Match referee: David Boon (AUS)