World Cup semi finals are upon us, but who will make the final?
WE are down to the last four of the Women’s International One Day World Cup, with the knockout stage set to kick off this morning.
Let us take a look at the two semi finals, with the winners to face off in the final on Sunday.
Australia vs West Indies
Wednesday March 30
The West Indies certainly have a mountain to climb if they want to overcome the might of Australia and make the final.
There’s a reason Australia finished top of the table and undefeated this tournament after the group stage.
They have star power right the way down the batting line up, and world class bowlers.
The likes of Rachel Haynes and Meg Lanning have both been in scintillating form this tournament and are both currently in the top five highest run scorers thus far.
Then from a bowling perspective, the likes of Tahlia McGrath and Megan Schutt are dangerous types who are proven wicket takers.
The Australians will be missing star bowler Ellyse Perry, who’s already been ruled out of the match with back spasms.
This is a huge loss for the Australians, but they have proven they can win without her, and Australia are the side that could afford to lose her, and it would not be as much of a disaster as it would be for some other countries.
But the West Indies do have some firepower of their own, and can potentially do a lot of damage if they get going.
The likes of Stefanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews are all proven big hitters, so the key for Australia will be to ensure they are dismissed early to have the best chance at success.
Last time these two sides met the Aussies won by seven wickets.
The West Indies were bowled out for 131 before the Aussies cruised to the total thanks to an 83 not out from Haynes.
Taylor made 50 in that game for the West Indies, while Perry also took three wickets in a Player of the Match performance, so the Aussies will need someone else to step up and take those wickets.
South Africa vs England
Thursday March 31
This one is expected to be the closer of the two semi finals, with South Africa and England a much more even pair of foes.
The clear strength for the South Africans are their top order batters.
Yes, they do have dangerous bowlers in Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail, the likes of Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez are dangerous batters when they get going, so the English will certainly be wanting to dismiss them cheaply.
Then there is Laura Wolvaardt, who is having an absolutely ripping tournament with the bat.
She is currently the leading run scorer this tournament, having scored 433 runs at an average of 61.85. She already has five 50s to her name this tournament, but has not gone on to make a ton, with her high score being 90.
This is in stark contrast to England’s highest scorer Natalie Sciver, who has only made 273 runs this tournament.
One thing that particularly stands out for the English heading into this game is their experience. There are the likes of Heather Knight, Sciver and Katherine Brunt have been around a very, very long time, so if the English do get into trouble they will rely on their calm, clever heads to get them out of trouble.
They also have the tournament’s current leading wicket taker in Sophie Ecclestone, one particular factor going into this game that will worry the English is the fact that they have not beaten a top four side yet this tournament.
For example, when these two sides met earlier in the tournament, South Africa won by three wickets. Despite a 62 from Tammy Beaumont, a 77 from Wolvaardt and a five wicket haul from Kapp meant that it was the South Africans who were victorious.