By Callum Dent
Anya Shrubsole hailed England’s fielding after a stunning performance helped them brush aside South Africa by nine wickets and book a Women’s World Twenty20 final against Australia.
The Proteas equalled the record for run-outs in a women’s T20 international by losing half their team in an innings of 101, which ended on the penultimate ball.
And Shrubsole is happy to see hard work in the field paying off, saying: “It’s hugely important, we got five run-outs today, which we are really pleased with as a team.
“It is something we work really hard on and today it really showed. We were excellent in the field and that really contributed to keeping them down to a total that we were able to chase down.”
Shrubsole gave England the upper hand from the off by claiming two wickets in the first three overs.
The seamer bowled Lizelle Lee and Trisha Chetty through the gate en route to 2-12 from four overs, impressive figures which helped her secure the player-of-the-match award.
She has put her fine form with the ball, which has seen her move to the top of the wicket-taking charts with 12 victims, down to not over complicating things.
She said: “The conditions have been really good.
“The ball has swung, probably due to the humidity. Keeping it simple and getting the ball in the right area is what I have been trying to do. Thankfully, at the moment, it is working for me.
“All swing, whether it is in-swing or away-swing, comes from wrist position. As every bowler does, we just work hard at our skills. It is something that has worked for me over the last 12 to 18 months and hopefully it continues.
“In these conditions, I just try to bowl the ball as straight as possible. On slow pitches I think it is the way to go. It has also worked for our entire bowling attack, who have bowled well throughout this tournament so far.”
England now have the opportunity to renew their rivalry with Australia in the final on Sunday, having made light work of chasing down their victory target of 102.
A 67-run opening stand between Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor, who made 36 and 44 not out respectively, put the result beyond any doubt, with Heather Knight also making an unbeaten 21 to help her side win with 19 balls unused.
With the Southern Stars triumphing at the last two World Twenty20s, beating England two years ago, Shrubsole believes the defending champions will start as slight favourites to claim a trio of titles.
“I would say Australia go in as favourites as defending champions,” she said.
“I think it will be a really good match because we are two evenly matched teams as we have shown over past series against them.
“We have played so much cricket against them that there is nothing we don’t know about them. There are not really any surprises. It’s just going to be who comes out and performs best on the day.”
You can follow England Women’s progress in Sunday's final with ecb.co.uk’s live blog, as well as via Twitter @ECB_cricket.