Wolvaardt and Brits haul South Africa into semi-final after bowlers' show
Kapp and Khaka's two-fors restricted Bangladesh before openers ensured a ten-wicket win
South Africa 117 for 0 (Wolvaardt 66*, Brits 50*) beat Bangladesh 113 for 6 (Nigar 30, Mostary 27, Kapp 2-17, Khaka 2-21) by ten wickets
South Africa's path to the semi-finals was scrappy to the last, but they'll take it.
Losing the first match of the Women's T20 World Cup to Sri Lanka put the hosts on a slippery slope from which they had to claw their way back. On a cool Tuesday night, returning to Newlands for the first time since that defeat, they restricted Bangladesh to 113 for 6 despite a nervy performance in the field and then reached their target with 13 balls to spare. Unbeaten half-centuries from Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits sealed the result in South Africa's fourth-highest opening stand in women's T20Is. For Wolvaardt, it was the first time she had passed 19 in four innings while Brits built on her 45 against Australia on Saturday as her side's leading run-scorer in a losing cause against the title favourites.
Marizanne Kapp and Ayabonga Khaka claimed two wickets each to contain Bangladesh, upon whom New Zealand were relying to win, in order to progress to the knockout stage themselves at South Africa's expense. The home side will now play Friday's second semi-final against England, who ran roughshod over Pakistan in the afternoon game. Australia take on India in the other semi-final on Thursday.
Brits breaks the tension
Chasing just 114 for their ticket to the knockouts, South Africa were tentative, reaching 26 without loss in the powerplay and 43 without loss after 10 overs. But when Brits powered Marufa Akter through the gap between midwicket and long-on in the 11th and Wolvaardt chipped in by skipping down to smash Fahima Khatun straight down the ground in the next, it broke the tension. Prior to that, there had been just two boundaries - Wolvaardt's six over wide long-on and a four sliced past backward point in the fifth and sixth overs.
Sobhana Mostary gave Brits a life on 2 when she spilled a diving chance at mid-off and South Africa's jittery fielding display spread into their running between the wickets with Wolvaardt and Brits twice surviving mix-ups. Having also escaped two missed stumping attempts earlier in the innings, Brits unfurled back-to-back fours off Shorna Akter in the 13th over as she and Wolvaardt reeled in their milestones and broke New Zealand hearts.
Sublime and ridiculous
South Africa were off to a mixed start, when Wolvaardt shelled a simple chance off Shamima Sultana at backward point off Shabnim Ismail's third ball - the ninth of the match. But then Nadine de Klerk's leaping effort at mid-off had Murshida Khatun out next over for a six-ball duck and Brits held on at midwicket to eventually give Ismail, Shamima's wicket.
The fielding became slapstick as Kapp and de Klerk collided trying to cut off a boundary at long-off (Kapp succeeded in keeping it to three runs) but when Brits put down another straightforward chance of Mostary, things turned serious again. It was Nonkululeko Mlaba's gem to remove Mostary, pitched on off, drawing a sweep and clattering into off-stump that restored order for the hosts. Khaka's pinpoint yorker to peg back Shorna's middle stump put them on top. Kapp and Khaka claimed another wicket each and, were it not for a further dash of misfields and overthrows, the damage could have been greater for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh fail to capitalise
Bangladesh never really got going, stuttering to 23 for 2 at the end of the powerplay, and managing just 41 for 2 at the halfway mark of their innings. They found the boundary only seven times in their innings - all fours - with Nigar Sultana, their captain top-scoring on 30 from 34 balls. They did well to convert their singles with some solid running between the stumps (aided by those fielding errors), but on a pitch where England had scored 100 more runs in their record innings, it was going to be tough to defend.
Marufa, the hugely impressive 18-year-old, did her best, rapping Wolvaardt on the thigh with the first ball of South Africa's reply and belting out an enthusiastic appeal in vain with height an issue. Then, next ball, Marufa pinned Wolvaardt low, which was given out lbw but overturned on appeal with the ball heading down the leg side to the delight of the 6,623-strong home crowd.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo