In getting to their first semifinal, South Africa had shown signs of being the force that Charlotte Edwards, the England captain, had predicted they would become two years ago. Once there, however, the gulf in experience between the two sides was far too stark, as England romped to their third Women's World T20 final.
Sent in to bat, South Africa were diffident and ran terribly between the wickets, and their total of 101 was nowhere near enough against an England side with the quality of Edwards and Sarah Taylor
at the top of the order. The openers put on a breezy 67, before Heather Knight came in and stroked 21 off 16 balls to wrap up a nine-wicket win for England. Taylor completed the formalities with an impudent scoop to fine leg, a shot that summed up England's dominance.
The match was going only one way after England struck the early blows, and they came courtesy Anya Shrubsole
, who got the new ball to swing into the right-handers in quite exaggerated manner. Two of her inswingers rocked South Africa's top order, making Lizelle Lee and Trisha Chetty pay for big bat-pad gaps.
At the other end, left-arm spinner Rebecca Grundy
trapped Yolandi van der Westhuizen in front as she looked to work a straight ball across the line, leaving South Africa 14 for 3. There was a bit of moisture under the surface early on, and the spinners had been getting the ball to skid through rather than grip and turn, and van der Westhuizen should have been sufficiently warned.
This tendency of the pitch was also coming to Shrubsole's help, causing most of her leg-cutters to go through with no deviation even as a couple straightened to keep the batsmen guessing. Shrubsole bowled out, sending down a maiden in her third over and giving away just two in her final one to finish with figures of 2 for 12.
Grundy was tossing the ball up a long way, and Mignon du Preez, South Africa's captain, went after her in the sixth over, hitting her for successive boundaries down the ground. Whatever promise there was of a recovery, however, was snuffed out as South Africa lost Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp in the tenth over, both run-out while looking to sneak leg-byes.
It was a sign of things to come. The quality of England's bowling fell away to a large extent in the second half of the innings, but South Africa failed to fully capitalise as they lost three more batsmen to run-outs, the last of which brought their innings to an end with one ball left to play.
The dismissal of Sune Luus in the 16th over, after a mid-pitch collision with Chloe Tryon
, was probably the defining moment of the match. It summed up South Africa's meltdown - both of them were watching the ball as they turned after completing the first run - and showed that England weren't at the top of their game either - the bowler, Jenny Gunn, failed to collect the throw from the off-side sweeper, and needed the midwicket fielder to mop up behind her and complete the run-out at the keeper's end.
Had Gunn collected the ball, England would have sent back Tryon rather than Luus, and quite likely knocked off a sizeable chunk of South Africa's total. Tryon was easily South Africa's best batsman on the day, showing a clear head and opportunism to pounce on loose balls. She played the shot of the match, drilling Natalie Sciver wide of a diving short cover and striking it hard enough to beat mid-off running to her left, and showed impressive power to twice clear the boundary. One of her sixes, off Gunn, was only a chip but it sailed comfortably over long-on's head.
In all, South Africa scored 68 runs in the last 10 overs, of which Tryon struck 40 off 31. South Africa may not have posted a match-winning score had they cobbled together more support for Tryon or run better between the wickets, but they would have definitely made the semi-final less of a walk-over.