68dThe Report by Shashank Kishore

England hold nerve in thriller to make final

Sarah Taylor's half-century and Jenny Gunn's cameo unbeaten 27 helped England fight nerves and a full-blown batting collapse to progress to their fifth World Cup final

Commentary

Scorer: Chandan Duorah | Commentator: Karthik Krishnaswamy

5.30pm A great, great match, one of cricket's great semi-finals. England have confirmed their presence at Lord's on Sunday. Who will join them there, Australia or India? Join us tomorrow to find out. Let's hope it's a cracker just like this one. Until then, it's bye from me and Shashank.

Dane van Niekerk: "We thought we were 30 short, but knowing my team, we went out there believing, and I'm really proud of them. You always have to believe that you can win a game of cricket, and [after Knight's dismissal] I said to them that it was very close - I saw the score on the board - and with our bowling attack, anything can happen. We hope we made everyone proud. We needed some Madiba magic [it's Nelson Mandela Day], but we didn't get it today, but we've had a great campaign."

Heather Knight: "It was tight watching from the balcony, but I'm delighted. We had to find a way, and Jenny was brilliant at the end. The close games are the best to win but the worst to lose - credit to South Africa. What a game of cricket. The biggest prize is going to be the final at Lord's, and I guess [all the unprecedented attention and the DRS and all] has added a bit of pressure. [Asked what the dressing room felt like towards the end] I'm not the best watcher at the best of times. I was pretty nervous, but I trusted the girls who were out there."

Sarah Taylor, the player of the match: "It wasn't the most enjoyable experience [to watch the closing stages from the dressing room], but we were out there and we knew we could still get through. What a great shot from Anya at the end, and great work from Jenny and Fran. They [South Africa] played so well, and to lose from that situation is heartbreaking. We've known that feeling before. The support we've had has been fantastic, and we just want to say thank you as a team. To get through to the final is amazing, and we couldn't be prouder of each other."

Ayushman: "2015 Men's World Cup semi-final, 2017 Women's World Cup semi-final. Both last over losses. South Africa - a tale of so near yet so far. Gotta feel for them."

Exes: "S.Africa paid for extras - 24 runs, compare to England's 4"

James: "We've been spoilt on the cricket finishes front today. First the SL v Zim test, and now this. Cracking stuff."

Shilpa: "A match worthy of WC semi final.."

This comment came in a while earlier, before that last ball, so I'm not sure what moment he's reacting to, but it kind of sums up the game we've just watched -- Joe: "WHAT?!!! Noooooo."

5.14pm The South Africa players look distraught, some of their players sitting slumped on the field. How it must feel to have scrapped all the way, every inch, and lost by this margin? For neutrals such as ourselves, this has been a sensational game of cricket. England were coasting, with Taylor and Knight looking impregnable, before a run-out - what else - changed everything. Sune Luus grabbed two in one over, and nerves set into the chase, before Jenny Gunn joined Fran Wilson to pull them over the line, with some last-gasp help from Anya Shrubsole.

49.4
4
Ismail to Shrubsole, FOUR, down the track, and Shrubsole wins it with a sensational boundary! No matter how much you pack the infield, you're always going to leave a gap or two. Gives her a bit of width, a back-of-a-length ball, and she chops it away at the top of the bounce and puts it away through point. To the left of cover point. England are through to the World Cup final.

Anya Shrubsole. England need two off three balls. The field is in. What do you do? Do you look to push and run, or go over the infield? What will Ismail bowl?

49.3
W
Ismail to Marsh, OUT, and she's gone! Shabnim Ismail, you legend! The good old off-stump length ball. Marsh was very uncertain, looked to go across the line - not the across-the-line slog, but the across-the-line flick - and she misses

LA Marsh b Ismail 1 (3b 0x4 0x6) SR: 33.33

Everyone's saving the single, as far as I can see.,

49.2
1
Ismail to Gunn, 1 run, full slower ball wide of off, stabbed into the covers and short extra dives left to stop it
49.1
0
Ismail to Gunn, no run, oh my, is that a dropped catch? Full outside off, driven back hard, at waist height, and she gets both hands to it but can't hold on

Three off six. Shabnim Ismail to bowl the last over. She has a long, detailed chat with her captain.

Jarrod Kimber is losing some of the sang froid he's known for. "WHERE IS ALL THE LEGSPIN, KK??????????" he asks. "Why no legspin? What, Dane, done with the legspin? Four full tosses and this is over with. Chetty has been keeping like her hands were shadows, and then a catch like that in this pressure."

END OF OVER:
49 | 3 Runs | ENG-W: 216/7 (3 runs required from 6 balls, RR: 4.40, RRR: 3.00)

  • JL Gunn26 (25b)
  • LA Marsh1 (2b)
  • M Daniels10-0-47-1
  • M Kapp10-1-43-1
48.6
1
Daniels to Gunn, 1 run, yorker outside off, stabs at it and sends an outside edge rolling down to the left of third man
48.5
0
Daniels to Gunn, no run, down the track and she slants it full and wide, slapped to cover