Women's World T20: Katherine Brunt backing England to beat South Africa in semi-finals
Attack and unbeaten record give Edwards' side all-important edge...
By Oli Burley
Last Updated: 03/04/14 5:40pm
England Women have the firepower to beat South Africa in Friday’s semi-final and set up another showdown with World Twenty20 champions Australia on Sunday, says fast bowler Katherine Brunt.
Charlotte Edwards’ side lost their opening World Twenty20 match against the West Indies but responded in style by winning three games on the spin to move into the last four as Group B leaders.
Brunt, ruled out of the competition after two back operations, told Sky Sports she’s been impressed by how England’s attack has handled conditions in Bangladesh, in particular fellow seamer Anya Shrubsole, who is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 10 wickets.
“When you play in these conditions it’s really difficult as a quick bowler to pick up those wickets and have a low economy because, as the batters keep telling us, the wickets are really nice to bat on,” she said.
“Anya has been doing a really good job of picking up key wickets early and Danni Hazell has come in off the back of two superb Ashes series. Rebecca Grundy, on her debut, is also picking up a lot of wickets.
“The batters are backing that up with some really solid 30s and 40s – that’s really balancing out the game in our favour. But I would like to see some more people go on and make higher scores.”
England have not lost to South Africa on the seven previous occasions they have met, but while Brunt says Edwards’ side are favourites, she says they can’t afford to take their opponents lightly.
“I think South Africa will be the more nervous of the two teams,” said the 28-year-old. “We’ve been in this position a lot – and we’ve been on both sides of it – so I think we’ll ride that little bit better than them.
“But I do think that they’ll go out and give it their all. That’s the one-thing that they are good at – they don’t leave anything out there.
“They’ll give us a good game. I think they’ll be good consistently down the order - they’ve got a great batting line-up and it will be really nice to see some of these new players: they have a lot of people that we’ve never seen before – and all I’ve heard is exciting things about them. The squad they’ve brought is obviously going to be quite successful.”
England and Sussex left-arm spinner Holly Colvin, currently taking a break from the game, agreed that the 2009 champions will have a mental edge.
But she warned that South Africa, who beat Pakistan, Ireland and New Zealand en route to second spot behind Australia in Group A, will put up a fight.
“The last time we met them in a World Cup, back in India, I remember Anya tearing through the top order and we bowled them out pretty cheaply, so England should definitely have a psychological edge over them.
“But they’ve just come off a win against New Zealand; they’ll be very confident going into this game and taking the momentum from that New Zealand game into this one, hopeful of doing well.
“Anything can happen – this is Twenty20 cricket.”
Watch South Africa Women take on England Women in the ICC Women’s World T20 live from 9am on Friday on Sky Sports 2.