History for South Africa. That too, at their home. Hosts of the T20 World Cup 2023, South Africa defeated England by 6 runs to enter the final of any World Cup for the first time ever, men or women.
Sune Luus-led South Africa won the toss and decided to bat first in Newlands with the hope of putting a big score on the board. England looked confident after topping their group and Lauren Bell came back into the XI for them.
South Africa had a perfect start with Laura Wolvaardt and Taznim Brits with a huge opening partnership for them. Both put up a partnership of 96 runs in just 13.4 overs which gave the hosts the chance to change the gear in the final overs of the first inning.
Laura completed her fifty in 42 balls while Taznim took 43 balls to complete her fifty. Post departure of Laura Wolvaardt, it was Marizanne Kapp who lashed on anything that was presented to her. Taznim departed after scoring a match-defining 68 from 55 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes. Lauren Bell was the wicket-taker for England this time.
England bowlers could not restrict South Africa from getting over 160 as Kapp scored 27 from 13 with 4 boundaries. Sophie Ecclestone was the pick of the bowlers for England with 22/3 in her full quota of four overs.
The chase started on a great note for England as Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley put up 53 runs for the first wicket in just 5.1 overs. England had a solid base to complete the chase to face Australia in the final of the T20 World Cup 2023.
But, Shabnim Ismail had something else in mind. After picking up Sophia Dunkley (28 from 16) for the first wicket of the match, she sent Alice Capsey back to the pavilion just two balls later.
Nat Sciver-Brunt then steadied the ship for England. Nat scored a steady 40 from 34 balls while Danni Wyatt was picked up by Ayabonga Khaka. Taznim Brits with the catch to complete the dismissal.
With 32 needed from 22 balls, England were surely the team with the upper hand in the chase. But, Ayabonga Khaka and Shabnim Ismail became the heroes for their country to script history.
Amy Jones (2), Sophie Ecclestone (1) and Katherine Sciver-Brunt (0) became victims of Ayabonga Khaka in the 18th over to turn things around for the host nation.
With Sarah Glenn and captain Heather Knight at the crease, England needed 12 from the last over with Cape Town's very own Shabnim Ismail standing in front of them. Ismail bowled one of the fastest overs in Women's Cricket as she uprooted Heather Knight's stumps on the third ball of the over. Ismail only went for 6 runs in the final over as South Africa crossed the line for the first time by 6 runs.
This will be their first-ever final of any World Cup, be it Men's or Women's cricket when they face Australia in T20 World Cup 2023 final, coming Sunday.
Taznim Brits was adjudged player of the match for her 68 from 55 balls and four catches in the match.
SA: 164/4 (20) | T. Brits 68, Laura Wolvaardt 53, Sophie Ecclestone 22/3
ENG: 158/8 (20) | Nat Sciver-Brunt 40, Ayabonga Khaka 29/4, Shabnim Ismail 27/3