ICC Women World Cup 2022: Virat Kohli fan Danielle Wyatt powers England to final

England batter Danielle Wyatt made the most of the luck that came her way enroute to a memorable hundred as defending champions England showed their big-match temperament with a 137-run win over South Africa to enter the ICC Women’s World Cup final on Thursday (March 31). Danielle is a big fan of former India captain Virat Kohli.

In fact, Wyatt had asked Kohli to ‘marry her’ on social media a few years back. In April 2014, Wyatt had tweeted: “Kholi (sic) marry me,” and had Twitter abuzz.

Back then, a few fans reminded her that Kohli is rumoured to be dating Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma, who Kohli later married. She was not ready to give up and replied, “nah, he ain’t”.

But during her meeting with Kohli, Wyatt was told not to post such things on social media by the Indian cricketer. “Ten minutes later (after she posted the tweet), I picked my phone up and I’ve got 1000s of favourites and retweets, it’s all over Indian news, they’re emailing my dad at home. When we met, he said to me: ‘You can’t do things like that on Twitter! They take things seriously!’ I was like, ‘okay. Sorry!’,” Wyatt revealed.

Wyatt (129 off 125), who was dropped five times, struck a maiden World Cup hundred before Sophia Dunkley produced a fine 60 off 72 balls to take England to an imposing 293 for eight after South Africa chose to bowl. South Africa, who had reached the last-four stage as the second best team from the league stage and also eliminated India from the competition, crumbled under the pressure of a knock-out game.

They could never recover from the body blow received in the second over of the chase when pacer Anya Shrubsole (2/27) had tournament’s leading run-getter Laura Wolvaardt caught and bowled. Their innings ended at 156 in 38 overs.

Left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone completed the job for England by cleaning up the lower-order, ending with six wickets for 36 runs in eight overs. She had also hit an unbeaten 24 off 11 balls to take England close to the 300-run mark. With five wins on the trot after three losses that had them staring at an early exit, England’s juggernaut is well and truly rolling as they stand on the cusp of a fifth title.

Their final and familiar opponents Australia, on the other hand, are eyeing a record-extending seventh crown. “That was a complete performance from us, something we were searching for a little bit. Really chuffed that the girls have brought their best cricket when everything’s on the line,” said England skipper Heather Knight referring to their comeback after a disastrous start to their tournament campaign.

“I think the knockout cricket that we have been playing for the last four games has helped us.”

It was a brilliant display of swing bowling from Shrubsole that broke the backbone of South Africa batting in the run chase. Wolvaardt’s opening partner Lizelle Lee was Shrubsole’s second wicket as the out-of-form batter flicked it straight into the hands of the mid-wicket fielder, ending her forgettable campaign in the ICC event.

After Kate Cross removed Sune Luus with a beauty that seamed to nip back in sharply, the writing was on the wall for South Africa, who paid the price for their sloppy fielding early on in the game.

Brief Scores:

England Women 293/8 (Danni Wyatt 129, Sophia Dunkley 60; Shabnim Ismail 3/46, Marizanne Kapp 2/52) bt South Africa Women 156 in 38 overs (Mignon du Preez 30, Lara Goodall 28; Sophie Ecclestone 6/36, Anya Shrubsole 2/27)

(with PTI inputs)

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