South Africa suffered a narrow loss to Australia in the semi-finals of the Netball World Cup a short while ago. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters

The Proteas fell painstakingly short of upsetting defending champion Australia suffering a heartbreaking 55-53 defeat in their Netball World Cup semi-final in Liverpool on Saturday. 

South Africa was looking for their first victory over the 11-time champions in the 40th meeting between the sides. 

It was a real battle of attrition with the sides playing tit-for-tat in the opening minutes of the encounter. 

The Australian Diamonds edged ahead of the South Africans that conceded too may turnovers to provide the world number one side with enough ammunition to cause damage. 

And that is exactly what they did with their sharp-shooting attackers hardly missing a beat inside the circle. The Aussie shooting duo of Gretel Tippett and Caitlin Thwaites boasted a remarkable 100 percent success record after three quarters. 

The Diamonds did most of the damage in the first half taking a four-point lead after the first point before extending the advantage by as much in the second period. 

A reinvigorated South Africa stepped onto the court after the break where they clawed their way back to win the third quarter 16-12. 

The Proteas still trailed by four points going into the final period where they needed a mammoth effort to upset the netball giants. 

They did a remarkable job to rattle the Aussies erasing an eight-goal deficit getting within one point of claiming a famous victory but managed to let it slip in the dying minutes of the encounter. 

In the end, they won the second half, but it was not enough for a gold or silver, but they still have a shot at bronze in their final on Sunday. 

@ockertde


IOL Sport

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