2nd Semi Final (D/N), Christchurch, March 31, 2022, ICC Women's World Cup
(38/50 ov, T:294) 156

ENG Women won by 137 runs

Player Of The Match
129 (125)

Danni Wyatt ton, Sophie Ecclestone six-for help England set finals date with Australia

Wyatt added 116 with Dunkley before Ecclestone's career-best ODI figures polished off South Africa

Annesha Ghosh
Annesha Ghosh
Sophie Ecclestone finished with six wickets, South Africa vs England, Women's World Cup 2022, 2nd semi-final, March 31, 2022

Sophie Ecclestone picked up her maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs  •  Getty Images

England Women 293 for 8 (Wyatt 129, Dunkley 60, Ismail 3-46) beat South Africa Women 156 all out (Du Preez 30, Ecclestone 6-36, Shrubsole 2-27) by 137 runs
Few occasions can be more fitting than a World Cup knockout match for the defending champions to deliver a perfect game. Against South Africa in the 2022 ODI World Cup semi-final, England achieved that feat with an emphatic 137-run win in Christchurch.
Danni Wyatt's 129, Sophia Dunkley's 60 and a career-best six-for by Sophie Ecclestone orchestrated the fifth straight win in England's astounding turnaround at this World Cup and powered them into Sunday's final against favourites Australia.
Anya Shrubsole's two early strikes, too, played a pivotal role in England's successful defence of 293, as they skittled South Africa out for 156 in 38 overs. In a rematch of the 2017 World Cup semi-final, Thursday's victory extended England's incredible comeback in the tournament after three consecutive losses and sealed their sixth appearance in the final in 12 editions of the ODI World Cup.
South Africa were no match with the bat or in the field as Wyatt and Dunkley's 116-run partnership ensured they would need to pull off the highest successful chase in Women's ODIs in their pursuit of a maiden appearance in a world tournament final. Against an opposition that consigned them to a heartbreaking loss in the semi-final in Bristol five years ago, South Africa bore the brunt of slipshod fielding. Five dropped catches off Wyatt alone meant the England opener got lifelines on 22, 36, 77, 116 and 117 en route to her maiden World Cup century.
Wyatt's fifth-wicket stand with Dunkley steered England to the second-highest total in a 50-over World Cup knockout game after South Africa sent them in in slightly overcast and windy conditions at the Hagley Oval. Dunkley, who scripted a match-winning rescue act with a fifty in England's final league-stage game on Sunday, compiled a confident 72-ball 60 before Ecclestone carted three back-to-back fours off Shabnim Ismail in the 50th over during her 11-ball 24 at No. 8.
South Africa started off reasonably well in their new-ball burst on a fresh surface which had a fair amount of bounce, carry and movement. A well-directed outswinger from Marizanne Kapp had opener Tammy Beaumont edge to keeper Trisha Chetty in the fourth over.
Masabata Klaas created an opportunity off the first ball of her spell. Wyatt leaned in and offered a thick edge to first-slip Lizelle Lee, who couldn't hold on to a low catch and the ball raced away for four. Wyatt bludgeoned an authoritative cover drive one ball later and England finished the powerplay on 44 for 1.
Captain Heather Knight, who scratched her way to a 19-ball 1, was then adjudged lbw via the DRS off an Ayabonga Khaka inswinger. Nat Sciver initially proved up to the task of keeping up the tempo when she joined Wyatt in the 13th over. But her stay was cut short to an 18-ball 15 as Ismail picked up the first of her three wickets, with a bouncer, reducing England to 77 for 3.
Wyatt responded to South Africa's ploy aimed at targeting one of her strong suits with aplomb, early in her innings. Their quicks sent down a barrage of short-and-wide deliveries, backed up with a well-patrolled arc between extra-cover and backward point. But it didn't deter Wyatt from unleashing the cut at will, her most productive shot on the day, which fetched her 34 runs.
With No. 5 Amy Jones, she led a sizeable rebuild, their 51-ball 49 stand taking England past 125 inside 26 overs. Striking at over 90 for the best part of the innings helped Wyatt ensure England's run rate was never quite a concern in batting-friendly conditions, though the regular loss of wickets was.
After Chloe Tryon took an agile catch running back to dismiss Jones for 28 off 32, Dunkley superbly complemented Wyatt, who reached her half-century off 56 balls and her hundred with a single off the 97th delivery of her innings. The England dressing room lauded her effort with a standing ovation as Wyatt raised her fist upon reaching the milestone. When she was dismissed in the 45th over, congratulatory pats on the England opener's back and handshakes from the South Africans came thick and fast.
England rounded out a supercharged performance with the bat with 75 runs in their final 10 overs. It wasn't long before Shrubsole, who hit the winning runs against South Africa in the 2017 World Cup semi-final and was the Player of the Final in that edition, further swung the game their way. She took a return catch to remove Laura Wolvaardt, the leading run-getter of this World Cup, for a duck off the second ball of her spell and had the other opener, Lee, caught by Sciver in the next over.
On a belter of a surface that had plenty for the quicks to capitalise on early, Kate Cross was the next to strike, bowling captain Sune Luus, who was making her 100th ODI appearance alongside Lee, through her defences. It was largely an Ecclestone show thereafter as the ODI No. 1 bowler ran through the middle and lower order with wily variations.
The top-score from the South African line-up was 30. With seven wickets down inside 30 overs, even a miracle seemed unlikely to avert a second elimination at the hands of England in a World Cup knockout.
Either side of completing her maiden international five-for, Ecclestone sent Ismail off with a finger-on-the-lip celebration and had Jones stump Chetty for her sixth wicket. For a team that became the first in women's ODI World Cup history to make the final after three consecutive defeats at the start of their campaign, it was fitting that England's win marked the first-ever women's ODI to feature a century and a six-wicket-haul.

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha

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