CHRISTCHURCH: Half-centuries from batters, Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon du Preez helped the Momentum Proteas seal a rousing three-wicket triumph over India to knock out the subcontinent side in the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Sunday.

Wolvaardt and Du Preez were the top-scorers for South Africa, who came into the game having already qualified for the final four, as they successfully chased down India’s first innings score of 274 / 7 to take winning momentum into the semi-finals, while helping to seal the West indies’ top four fate.

India won the toss and elected to bat first in the favourable, sunny conditions on the South Island of New Zealand, as their openers, Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana exploded out of the starting blocks, racing to 50 / 0 in the ninth over with Verma as the most destructive.

The exciting 18-year-old reached her third half-century in One-Day Internationals (ODI) in just 40 balls, smashing eight fours along the way before a mix up between the batters led to Verma’s dismissal as Suné Luus and Trisha Chetty combined to run her out on 53 off 46 balls.

That breakthrough quickly brought another wicket for South Africa, as Chloé Tryon (1 / 51) bowled new batter, Yastika Bhatia (2) around the leg-side, bringing captain, Mithali Raj to the crease to join Mandhana.

The pair fought hard to add 80 runs on the scoreboard as Mandhana raised her bat for a well-played 22nd career fifty as the Proteas bowlers brought back the run rate effectively before eventually removing the opener for 71 off 84 deliveries (6 fours, 1 six) to leave India 176 / 3.

That half-century stand was followed by another one, as Raj stroked her way to a tidy fifty in a 58-run, fourth-wicket stand with Harmanpreet Kaur before the Indian skipper became Masabata Klaas’ (2 / 38) second wicket of the day and 51st in her ODI cricket.

With India on 234 / 4, their batting hopes relied on Kaur as the South African bowlers continued to recover well from their indifferent start with the ball as Shabnim Ismail (2 / 42), who went at more than ten runs an over in her first three overs, returned with fantastic figures of 2 / 11 in her remaining seven overs to restrict India to 268 / 6.

Ayabonga Khaka (1 / 58) picked up the last wicket to fall in the innings, clean bowling Kaur for 48 as India finished their allotted overs on 274 / 7.

In their chase with the bat, South Africa suffered an early blow, losing Lizelle Lee (6) through a run out before her fellow opener and in-form batter, Wolvaardt combined to significant effect with the returning Lara Goodall to set their side a solid platform.

With Wolvaardt continuing her brilliant form at the crease and batting at a better than a run-a-ball, while Goodall shone in the supporting role, the duo put on an outstanding partnership worth 125 runs for the second wicket to put South Africa in control of proceedings.

Not willing to give up the fight easily, the Indians struck back in quick succession to firstly remove Goodall just short of her maiden World Cup half-century on 49 off 69 balls (4 fours), before Kaur (2 / 42) bowled Wolvaardt for 80 off 79 deliveries, having dispatched 11 fours for her fifth half-ton in seven matches.

Despite losing both in-batters, Luus (22) and Du Preez steadied the ship well, adding 37 runs before the captain fell to an LBW, bringing in Marizanne Kapp (32) who also combined well with Du Preez with a 47-run stand to help take South Africa to 229 / 5 before Kapp was run out.

Needing 46 runs off 31 balls, Tryon contributed a fiery 17 off nine balls to help drastically reduce the required run rate before Du Preez showed her experience with the bat to reach a deserved half-century alongside Trisha Chetty (7) before a dramatic finish to the game.

With six runs required off the last five deliveries, India ran out Chetty before thinking they had Du Preez (52* off 63; 2 fours) caught in the deep on the penultimate ball of the match before a call for a no ball meant the veteran batter was called back to the crease as she went onto hit the winning runs to clinch the game and knock India out of the tournament.

Following England’s victory over Bangladesh, South Africa will face the defending champions in the second semi-final on Thursday, 31 March, while the Proteas’ result meant that the West Indies have also confirmed their place in Wednesday’s first semi-final at the Basin Reserve in Wellington against Australia.

Audio and video of the post-match press conference featuring Momentum Proteas batter, Mignon du Preez is located here.

Momentum Proteas’ 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup squad: 

Suné Luus (Captain) (Titans Ladies), Chloé Tryon (Vice-Captain) (Hollywoodbets KZN Coastal), Ayabonga Khaka (Imperial Lions), Lara Goodall (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Lizelle Lee (Senwes Dragons), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Masabata Maria Klaas (Senwes Dragons), Mignon du Preez (Titans Ladies), Nonkululeko Mlaba (Hollywoodbets KZN Coastal), Shabnim Ismail (Hollywoodbets KZN Coastal), Sinalo Jafta (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Tazmin Brits (Senwes Dragons), Trisha Chetty (Hollywoodbets KZN Coastal), Tumi Sekhukhune (Imperial Lions) 

Traveling Reserves: 

Andrie Steyn (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Nadine de Klerk (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Imperial Lions)

South Africa’s ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Fixtures: 

Wednesday, 30 March: Semi-final 1 – Basin Reserve, Wellington 

Thursday, 31 March: Semi-final 2 – Hagley Oval, Christchurch 

Sunday, 03 April: Final – Hagley Oval, Christchurch at 02h00 (CAT)

For media enquiries, please contact: 

Team Media Manager – Lita Gqirana 

Cell.: (+27) 76 503 9655 

Email: litag@cricket.co.za