England reach Women’s World Cup final

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Shrubsole hits four as England reach final
Women’s World Cup semi-final, Bristol
South Africa 218-6 (50 overs): Du Preez 76*, Wolvaardt 66
England 221-8 (49.4 overs): Taylor 54, Knight 30, Wilson 30
England won by two wickets

Hosts England reached the Women’s World Cup final following a nerve-racking two-wicket win over South Africa in Bristol.

Jenny Gunn steered a nervy England over the line with just two balls to spare after they lost six wickets for 78 runs.

Heather Knight’s side were chasing South Africa’s 218-6, built on Mignon du Preez’s unbeaten 76.

They will face Australia or India in Sunday’s final at Lord’s.

England scrape over the line

England required a boundary from number 10 Anya Shrubsole to seal the win after they appeared to be cruising towards victory.

Sarah Taylor – arguably their best player – scored a typically classy half-century in a stand of 78 with captain Knight (30) to take them to within 80 runs of victory.

However, both players fell in quick succession – Knight to a wonderful catch from Laura Wolvaardt at square leg – and a collapse followed.

Nat Sciver (3) was bowled round her legs and Katherine Brunt (12) was dismissed charging the seamer, but Fran Wilson (30) and the experienced Gunn, with a run-a-ball 27, held their nerve.

Taking singles initially before being more expansive in the closing overs, they inched England towards victory.

There was still time for brief alarm when both Wilson and Laura Marsh fell in quick succession, but Shrubsole drove her first ball for four to spark wild celebrations in the England camp and reduce a number of South Africa players to tears.

More to follow.

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