1st over: England 6-0 (Beaumont 5, Wyatt 1)Tammy Beaumont drives the first ball of the match for four! A beauty first up. The outfield looks quick, the ball laced away to the fence. There’s a couple of singles, Wyatt gets of the mark with a tickle to third man. Beaumont is then cloth’d on the helmet with the final ball, she went to pull and missed, the short ball from Ismail clonking her right on the three lions badge. She’s ok though. Game on.
Here we go! Shabnim Ismail will have first use of the ball and here she comes to Tammy Beaumont. Danni Wyatt is at t’other end. PLAY!
The players belt out the anthems, there’s dappled sunlight and a bit of a breeze in Christchurch. The pitch is biscuit-brown-ish in colour, I’d say a malted milk. Word from the ground is there might be some assistance to the bowlers first up. Heather Knight admitted she would have bowled first. But England have the chance to get runs on the board.
South Africa are unchanged:
South Africa: Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus(c), Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty(w), Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka
One change for England – Anya Shrubsole comes back into the side in place of Freya Davies.
Three’s a crowd.
Hello and welcome to this OBO of the second World Cup semi-final between England and South Africa from the Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
Predictably, the Aussies boshed their way past West Indies in yesterday’s match and they lie in wait for the victors today, looming yet dormant – like a big yella Dracula? Me either. It’s late here in South London.
Today’s day/nighter semi boasts the number one ODI batter – the Proteas’ vulpine Laura Wolvaardt – lining up against the number one ODI bowler in Sophie Ecclestone, England’s be-plaited spinning hero. The number crunchers at the ICC must be doing something right, Ecclestone sits at the top of the World Cup wickets column with 14 scalps and Wolvaardt is the tournament’s leading run scorer with 433 runs. Only one can prosper today.
England have momentum after four wins on the bounce but South Africa the recent muscle-memory of victory, they ran out winners by three wickets, with four balls to spare, when the two teams squared up in the group stages, a defeat that left Knight and co peering into the World Cup abyss.
We’ve been here before of course, England wobbled their way past South Africa in the semi-final at Bristol in 2017 on their way to lifting the trophy. Will history repeat or will South Africa take revenge? Let’s find out!
As ever, do get in touch if you are tuning in, I’d be glad of the company.
Play gets underway in 30 minutes time – 2pm local time, 2AM GMT and 12pm AEDT.