England were eliminated from the Women’s T20 World Cup after hosts South Africa won a thrilling semi-final by six runs.
England were cruising at 132-3, needing 165 to win, before Nat Sciver-dismissal Brunt’s for 40 sparked a five-wicket collapse for 26 runs in 22 balls.
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Shabnim Ismail held her nerve to bowl England captain Heather Knight for 31 runs and seal a thrilling victory in front of a packed Cape Town crowd.
On Sunday, the Proteas will face defending champions Australia in the final at Newlands.
They are the first South African men’s or women’s team to reach a World Cup final in any format.
It was a thriller that England should have won, but they were left to rue a frustrated and sloppy fielding performance that saw South Africa post an imposing 164-5, leaving them with too much to do with the bat.
England entered the game as clear favorites, having won all four group matches convincingly, as well as sweeping the Proteas 3-0 in both the one-day international and T20 series last year in England.
They started strongly in reply, but South Africa’s total left them little room for error, and while England remained in the chase until the final over, the momentum they had built up throughout the tournament was gone.
In the sixth over, Shabnim Ismail took two wickets, with Alice Capsey falling to a spectacular one-handed catch by Brits – one of four by the player of the match.
The task proved too great for Knight and England’s lower order once Nat Sciver-Brunt picked out a fielder in the deep, with the last pair of Charlie Dean and Sarah Glenn sinking to their knees in devastation as Newlands erupted in joy for South Africa’s history-makers.
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England’s World Cup run was built on controlled aggression, playing with freedom, and a focus on positivity.
However, it ended in the opposite manner, with a batting collapse followed by a negative and sour end to the first innings.