Proteas World Cup dreams washed away in Sydney
South Africa’s dreams of reaching their first-ever World Cup final was washed away at the SCG on Thursday evening when they fell to an agonising five-run Duckworth-Lewis defeat.
The Proteas initially restricted Australia to 134/5 in their allotted 20 overs before the Sydney heavens opened during the change of innings.
With South Africa’s chase delayed by 25 minutes, it meant the Proteas were set a revised Duckworth-Lewis victory target of 98 in just 13 overs.
RESULT! Despite a fighting knock from Wolvaardt (41*) it was not enough as Australia claim a 5-wicket win and their place in the #T20WorldCup final on Sunday.— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 5, 2020
South Africa fall agonisingly 5 runs short of the 98-run target.#SAvAUS #AlwaysRising #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/FPlDH9EZOJ
The pressure of going at 7.5 runs per over from the outset proved too much with South Africa losing wickets right at the top. The Proteas’ big hope Lizelle Lee was the first to fall for 10 off 10 balls when she was brilliantly caught on the long-off boundary by Ashley Gardner off Sophie Molineux’s bowling.
Captain Dane van Niekerk followed Lee back to the Proteas’ dugout when she was clean bowled Megan Schutt the following over for 12.
South Africa plunged further into the quagmire when Mignon du Preez was brilliantly caught in the covers by a diving Meg Lanning for a duck off Delissa Kimmince’s bowling. South Africa had lost three wickets for the addition of just four runs to be reduced to 24/3 after 4.5 overs.
Sune Luus (21) and Laura Wolfvaardt’s 47-run partnership for the fourth wicket kept South Africa in the game, with the Proteas ultimately requiring 19 runs off the final over.
But Wolfvaardt (41 not out off 27 balls) needed support from the likes of Chloe Tryon but it was not forthcoming and the dream drifted away in the Sydney rain.
Earlier, Australia had come out with purpose after being sent into bat with openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney putting the South African bowlers under early pressure.
Healy raced to 18 off just 13 balls before she fell to Ayabhonga Khaka. Mooney continued the momentum with captain Lanning, but could also capitalize on a good start when Nadine de Klerk clean bowled her for 28 off 24 balls.
It was the beginning of a superb spell from De Klerk, who came in for the injured Marizanne Kapp, as she pegged Australia’s middle-order back with the brilliant figures of 3/19 from her allotted four overs.
However, the defending champions have been in this situation so many times before and it was the experience of their captain Lanning that held their innings together with a solid undefeated 49 from 49 deliveries.
Lanning was offered a reprieve on 18 when wicket-keeper Trisha Chetty missed a stumping and ultimately it proved crucial with Lanning’s knock proving the difference on another dismal night for the Proteas in ICC tournament semi-finals.