England v South Africa
ICC Women’s World Cup, Semi-final
Thursday March 31, 2022
Hagley Oval, Christchurch
This is a case of heart versus head because there is no doubt the value lies in backing South Africa at 13/10 with bet365.
They finished second in the table with five wins from seven games, only losing once. Those five wins included beating England by three wickets a fortnight or so ago.
England, on the back of four successive wins, are 8/11 with betfair to advance to the weekend final.
Now, this is just a hunch – and I accept there are no stats to back this theory up – but I would be more confident of England beating Australia in the final than I am of them beating South Africa.
The Proteas have played some excellent cricket so far, led by opener Laura Wolvaardt and talismanic all-rounder Marizanne Kapp, the former who posted five scores between 67 and 90 in seven innings at this tournament plus a 41.
If pushed, I would be backing South Africa.
In reality, I’ll be sitting back and cheering on England to prove my gut feeling wrong.
Ecclestone fine form to continue in her 100th international
The Lancashire left-arm spinner has been the standout bowler in this World Cup, leading the way with 14 wickets and an unrivalled economy rate of 3.27 runs per over.
These are two stats which lead me to wanting to take the 9/4 on offer with bet365 on her to be England’s leading wicket-taker in this match, which will be the 22-year-old’s 100th international appearance across all formats.
It is something she has achieved twice already and narrowly missed out on more runs conceded on two other occasions.
Winners to play Australia or West Indies
The other semi-final takes place on Wednesday in Wellington – starting Tuesday evening at 11pm UK.
Australia are overwhelming favourites, at 1/12 with betfair. If you do fancy a major shock, West Indies are 13/2 with the same company. I don’t.
Pre-tournament, I tipped Alyssa Healy to be Australia’s leading run-scorer, something which isn’t going to happen. But she hasn’t had a bad tournament with 210 runs, including two half-centuries.
Rachel Haynes (344) and Meg Lanning (358) are ahead of her.
Call me stubborn, but I can see Healy enjoying a day out, as she did in the T20 World Cup final in March 2020 against India at the MCG with a blistering 75.
Instead of backing her to be the Aussies’ top run-scorer in a competitive field, I would be keen to look at the 7/4 on offer with bet365 for her to score a fifty in the match.
I also like the 9/1 they are offering on her to score a hundred, something she has done three times in her 92-game ODI career. One of those was against the West Indies.