As Laura Wolward and Zune Loos found form throughout the tournament, South Africa, batting first against Australia, scored 271 for five.
Liselle Lee and Laura put on 88 for the first wicket before Lee returned for 36 and South Africa lost 11 and Lara Goodol for 15 as the team was 118/2.
From there, Laura and Zune Loose put on 91 runs to put South Africa back on track. But as the match entered the final overs of the innings, South Africa lost both their wickets in successive overs.
Laura was out for 90 while Loose was out for 52. Mignon du Preez (14), Marisanne Cap (30 *) and Chloe Tryon (17 *) put on 271 for the second wicket. Cap-Train combined for 43 off 25 balls for the sixth wicket.
Laura Wolvaardt scored her fourth successive half-century at this World Cup and took over top spot on the tournament run-charts to set South Africa up for their biggest score of the competition thus far. In a match where victory will secure them a semi-final spot, South Africa batted better than they have in their previous matches at this event and crossed 250 for the first time in five matches.
Wolvaardt shared in two significant partnerships – 88 for the first wicket with Lizelle Lee and 91 for the third-wicket with captain Sune Luus – before Marizanne Kapp and Chloe Tryon smashed 43 off 25 balls to finish strongly.
On a green-tinged pitch that proved good for batting, Australia’s spinners squeezed South Africa and they put on an excellent display of ground fielding and catching but suffered a major blow to their pace resources. Ellyse Perry bowled only three overs and then had to leave the field with a back concern. She is unlikely to be able to bat in her usual position in the chase.
Wolvaardt’s drive came out as early as the second over when she punched Perry off the back foot through point and then transferred weight forward to cream a full ball through the covers. Those were the only two boundaries scored in the powerplay as Australia introduced spin in the form of Jess Jonassen early and kept South Africa to 41 in the first ten overs.
Ashleigh Gardner was brought on as soon as the fielding restrictions ended and Wolvaardt pounded on the short ball to pull it through deep square. Wolvaardt hit another cover drive off Annabel Sutherland, while Lee bided her time in an unusually sedate start. Lee scored 16 runs off the first 28 balls she faced before chipping Sutherland over extra cover for four to score her first boundary in the 16th over. She breached the rope two more times before missing a flick off Alana King and being given out lbw.
Lara Goodall was in at No.3, in place of Tazmin Brits and also had trouble getting going early on. Goodall scored five runs off the first 14 balls she faced as Wolvaardt continued to play the attacking role. Her half-century came up off 86 balls before Goodall slogged King over mid-wicket. The Goodall experiment did not last long. She tried to hit Sutherland over mid-off but offered King an easy chance.
Luus joined Wolvaardt and the pair took on the spin in equal measure. Wolvaardt used her feet well to hit King over mid-on and Luus hit Jonasen straight back over her head, then swept Gardner over square leg and slog-swept King over long-on. Luus brought up fifty off 48 balls and had succeeded in accelerating the scoring rate.
South Africa were 206 for 2 after 42 overs, with a score of around 270 in their sights but needed the Wolvaardt-Luus pair to finish. They were dismissed within eight balls of each other when Wolvaardt danced down the track to hit Gardner down the ground but found McGrath at long-on, before Luus top-edged a pull off Megan Schutt to McGrath at backward square leg.
Mignon du Preez’s poor tournament and Australia’s good catching continued when du Preez heaved Jonassen over mid-wicket and Gardner timed her jump perfectly to pluck the ball out of the air. However, Kapp and Chloe Tryon smashed four fours and a six between them to push South Africa over 270 as the team scored 78 runs off the last 10 overs.
South Africa XI: Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus (c), Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Tumi Sekhukhune
Australia XI: Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Ashleigh Gardner, Annabel Sutherland, Jessica Jonassen, Alana King, Megan Schutt