The Momentum Proteas Women suffered another semi-final heartbreak after losing to hosts and defending champions Australia by five runs on the DLS method at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Sydney on Thursday.
In a match that was widely expected to be abandoned due to the weather – a result that would have put South Africa through to Sunday’s final – the torrential rain cleared just about enough for a game to be squeezed in.
However, the result that Hilton Moreeng’s charges so desperately craved did not arrive as they were edged out for a second time in three years at the last four stage, having also been beaten by England in the 2017 50-over World Cup semi-finals.
The South Africans were oozing with confidence heading into the game, and rightly so too. This after they had topped Pool B unbeaten from three wins and a washout.
Following excellent work by the ground staff at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), the game started out without the deduction of any overs as the visitors won the toss and bowled first.
They had suffered a blow in the build-up with news that star all-rounder Marizanne Kapp was not fit, but her replacement, Nadine de Klerk, was excellent, snaring three for 19. Those figures were key to restricting the Australians to 134 for five.
Nonkululeko Mlaba (1/18) and Shabnim Ismail (0/20) also excelled.
Home captain Meg Lanning (49 not out) was the only player to really trouble South Africa, while Beth Mooney chipped in with 28.
With rain falling as the innings concluded, the changeover was slightly delayed, and the numbers altered to leave the tourists chasing 98 in 13 overs.
However, they fell into an early hole when the key trio of Lizelle Lee (10), skipper Dane van Niekerk (12) and Mignon du Preez (0) all fell with only 24 on the board and 4.5 overs eaten up.
Sune Luus (21) and Laura Wolvaardt (41 not out) tried to rebuild with a stand of 47, although the tight bowling of the reigning champions meant that 27 were needed off 10 balls when the former departed.
That proved a hurdle too far as the hosts progressed and left South Africa, who remain winless against Australia, disappointed once more.
Australia will play India in Sunday’s semi-final after the latter’s earlier semi-final against England was washed out and they progressed on their superior pool log position.
Momentum Proteas ICC Women’s T20 playing XI against Australia:
Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Lizelle Lee (North West), Nadine de Klerk (Western Province), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Suné Luus (Northerns), Chloe Tryon (KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Shabnim Ismail (KZN Coastal), Trisha Chetty (KZN Coastal), Ayabonga Khaka (Gauteng), Nonkululeko Mlaba (KZN Coastal).