With a spot in the final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023 up for grabs, England and South Africa will lock horns in the second semi-final on Friday, February 24.
Australia have secured their berth in the summit clash, having overcome India by five runs in a thrilling encounter on Thursday, February 23. The contest between England and South Africa will be played at the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, the same venue that hosted the first semi-final.
England topped Group 2 having remained unbeaten all the way through while South Africa endured a rollercoaster ride into the knockouts, winning and losing two games apiece in Group 1. The hosts cannot afford to huff and puff on Friday, however, with no second chance coming their way.
As we gear up towards what should be another mouth-watering contest at the Women's T20 World Cup, here's a look at three player battles that could determine its fate.
#1 Danni Wyatt vs Shabnim Ismail
Fresh off a blistering 33-ball 59 against Pakistan, England's star opener Danni Wyatt will be rearing to go in the semi-finals of the Women's T20 World Cup. Known for taking the bowlers on in the powerplay, the opening batter will look to continue the same against South Africa.
Having said that, she does have a negative matchup to overcome with Shabnim Ismail standing in her way. The speedster has dismissed Wyatt thrice in T20Is so far, with the latter going at a strike rate of 111.1 against Ismail at an average of 13.3.
Ismail hasn't been amongst the wickets so far in the Women's T20 World Cup. Yet, if she can continue her strong foothold over Wyatt in this format, she could very well put the South Africans in front on Friday.
#2 Laura Wolvaardt vs Katherine Sciver-Brunt
Wyatt's opening counterpart Laura Wolvaardt is currently one of the most graceful stroke makers in the game. The possessor of a delectable cover drive, Wolvaardt is the fulcrum of this South African batting unit and, like Wyatt, enters the game on the back of a solid half-century.
The similarities don't end with that though - if Ismail has tormented Wyatt, then England's ace seamer Katherine Sciver-Brunt has done the same to Wolvaardt over time. In 18 deliveries that she has sent down to the opener in T20Is, she has conceded a mere 11 runs while dismissing her thrice.
Wolvaardt carries a huge burden of South Africa's expectations in this semi-final. If she is to fulfill those and help her team secure a spot in the final of the Women's T20 World Cup, countering Sciver-Brunt is imperative.
#3 Natalie Sciver-Brunt vs Nonkululeko Mlaba
What a campaign Natalie Sciver-Brunt has had at the Women's T20 World Cup so far. The tournament's leading run-getter has been consistent with two half-centuries and an unbeaten 40 headlining her exploits.
England's vice-captain has been at the forefront of their scoring rate and momentum throughout the middle overs. At the opposite end though is left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba, who is enjoying a fine campaign of her own for South Africa.
The pitch in use for this match will be the same as the one used for the India-Australia clash. Given that the track is on the slower side, this could be one of the most defining subplots of the second semi-final.
Who, according to you, holds the edge ahead of the England-South Africa semifinal clash at the Women's T20 World Cup? Let us know in the comments section below!
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