Australia has beaten South Africa in a rain-affected thriller at the SCG to qualify for the Women’s T20 World Cup final.
T20 World Cup semis
- India v England abandoned (India advances to final as higher group finisher)
- Australia beats South Africa by five runs (D/L)
At times, it looked like the second semi-final would be rained out, but trojan work from the groundstaff allowed the game to be completed and Australia won by five runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The hosts scored 5-134 off their full 20 overs, with captain Meg Lanning top-scoring with 49 not out.
ICC tweet: #NewCoverPic #T20WorldCup #INDvAUS
The Proteas bowled well and contained some of Australia’s vaunted top-order, with Alyssa Healy making 18, Beth Mooney 28, Jess Jonassen 1 and Ashleigh Gardner a second-ball duck.
Lanning’s anchor role proved decisive, as she opened up in the final overs to finish with four fours and one big six.
She was helped by a solid 17 from Rachael Haynes and 7 from Nicola Carey.
However, the rain — that had earlier caused the abandonment of the India–England semi-final, allowing India to progress to the final as the higher finisher in the group stages — had already begun to fall in the final overs of their innings, and the covers went on again and stayed on.
Time began to tick down to a final restart time of 9:49pm AEDT, the last time available for the teams to begin play again in order to allow at least 10 overs per side for an official result.
In the end, play restarted at 9:40, and the Proteas needed an adjusted target of 98 runs off 13 overs.
South Africa’s bowlers restricted Australia’s star batting lineup to 5-134 off their 20 overs. (AP: Rick Rycroft)
Australia started well, with just nine off the first two overs.
The South Africans responded with 11 runs off the third over from Sophie Molineux, making her tournament debut in place of the injured Ellyse Perry.
She was hit for a four and a six before enticing Lee to get caught at long on by Ashleigh Gardner, who ran a long way to take the catch.
The Australians tightened their advantage when Megan Schutt produced a brilliant inswinger to bowl skipper Dane van Niekerk for 12, and Mignon du Preez soon followed for a duck off Delissa Kimmince.
Sune Luus (21 off 22) and Laura Wolvaardt (41 not out off 27) kept South Africa in the game.
But a brilliant penultimate over from Schutt left South Africa needing 19 off the last six balls, and when Jonassen had Chloe Tryon off the first ball of her over, Australia was all but home.
Perry, who injured her hamstring against New Zealand earlier in the tournament and will miss the final, was in tears at the end of the game.
Australia will now play India in Sunday’s final at the MCG, with at least 60,000 tickets already sold and a huge crowd expected.
Look back on the way the game played out in our blog.
Australia v South Africa semi-final live blog