SA vs England T20 World Cup – Heather Knight – England commit to attacking future after reaching semi-final

England Women leave the T20 World Cup determined that their shock semi-final defeat to South Africa will not define them or do anything to change their new attacking style.

South Africa smothered England with a perfect performance in front of a home crowd of 7,507 at Newlands to book a place in Sunday’s final against Australia after challenging England to break their own record for the highest T20 World Cup success – got within seven runs since you do it.

England produced a sharp performance on the field as South Africa reached a total of 164 for 4, then lost five wickets in the last five overs of their chase. However, Heather Knight, their captain, attributed the result to the home side’s ability to apply pressure rather than any nerves on her part.

“There are definitely things you can do better,” Knight said. “The experience of playing under a great crowd was a great experience and I think the younger players will learn a lot from that. A lot of them have played in front of big crowds but when there are so many and when it’s a World Cup semi-final , this adds it.

“But I think remembering, as a side, this match doesn’t define us. We should be really proud and we will keep the faith. In T20 cricket, sometimes you will lose games unfortunately. And today was not our day.”

“The way we played was definitely fun and it’s definitely the way to be successful,” Knight said. “There’s always a risk in playing this way, but it shows that we’ve almost got it. That’s the right strategy going forward. I think we’re building something nicely, obviously it hasn’t come out enough in this tournament, unfortunately, and today, but I think the future looks bright.”

South Africa, meanwhile, had lost two group games, including the tournament opener at Newlands against Sri Lanka. They also lost by six wickets to Australia’s Gqeberha, who have beaten South Africa in all six T20I meetings. England, too, had a favorable 19-3 win-loss record against South Africa during this match and had beaten them three times in other World Cup semi-finals – once in the 2014 T20 tournament and in 2017 and 2022 ODI events.

“We definitely believed as a team that we could win,” Knight said. “The crowd behind them was definitely a factor, you definitely felt it as an opponent. I think they held their nerve really well. Their bowlers took it as deep as they could and got a few wickets which meant the rate went up quite quickly. They looked quite clear under pressure.”

England were well ahead in the powerplay at 55 for 2 after South Africa had recovered from a slow start that saw them 14 for 0 after four overs and 37 for 0 after six. Even at half-time England were in front, but after Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits laid the foundation with an opening stand of 96 runs, Marizanne Kapp held her nerve despite Sophie Ecclestone’s two wickets in three balls in the penultimate over of the holdings. Katherine Sciver-Brunt conceded 18 runs off the final over and Kapp finished on 27 not out off 13 balls.

England lost walks in bunches as Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka piled on the pressure, first with Ismail’s raw pace and later slowing down and making it difficult for the batters to find the boundary. Add in the Briton’s record-equalling four catches, including a superb diving effort at midwicket to remove Alice Capsey for a duck – one of six England batsmen to fail to reach double figures – and Danni Wyatt’s efforts and Sophia Dunkley to pull it off. for a good start and the 47-run stand between Nat Sciver-Brunt and Knight was cancelled.

Amy Jones, who had contributed two valuable scores in the 40s in the previous two matches but fell victim to the Haka early on this occasion, said England had simply failed to execute at key moments.

“South Africa came at us hard and in front of a home crowd they really put on a show,” Jones said. “There were times where it was in the balance and we got off to a really good start for both innings and were ahead of the game, so the back end of both innings is where we lost it on the field a couple of times.

“Throughout this tournament we’ve said that we want to put pressure on the opposition at all times and stick to our strengths and on the pitch that looks like you’re all about attacking the ball and throwing yourself around and supporting your team-mates as much as possible . We did that, I think it was just execution and similarly at the back end with the bat, we took positive options and stuck to our strengths, but we lost too many wickets.

“We wanted to win this game more than anything, but I think going forward, it’s something we believe in, something we’re going to continue to do and it’s going to hold us in good stead.”

Valkerie Baynes is editor-in-chief, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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