Cape Town: Tazmin Brits said South Africa had nothing to fear in the final after producing a match-winning performance in the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final against England at Newlands in Cape Town.
Brits hit 68 in a South African total of 164 for four, then held four catches, two of them exceptional, as England were restricted to 158 for eight.
“I still can’t believe it,” she told journalists after the South African players performed a lap of honour for a boisterous crowd of 7500 after upsetting the odds with a shock victory.
South Africa will meet Australia in the final at the same venue on Sunday.
“Australia might be the top team but you play the ball and not the players,” she said of the five-time champions.
Experienced all-rounder Marizanne Kapp took a more measured view.
“We have to get the emotion of today out of it and get ready for Sunday,” she said. “We know how tough Australia are.”
England captain Heather Knight acknowledged the performance of the hosts which made them the first South African team - male or female - to reach a white ball World Cup final.
“South Africa bowled brilliantly,” said England captain Heather Knight.
“They had a very clear, simple plan, took a lot of pace off and made it very tricky to score boundaries.”
But Knight said she believed England’s attacking strategy under new coach Jon Lewis was the right way to play.
“It’s certainly the way forward,” she said. “Unfortunately it didn’t come off today but the future looks bright.”
Friday’s clash matched Australia’s five-run win over India on Thursday for excitement but with a considerable increase in decibels as the home crowd got behind the host nation.
Brits and Laura Wolvaardt (53) followed up their unbeaten century opening stand in the last group match against Bangladesh by putting on 96 for the first wicket in 13.4 overs.
England threatened to make light of the target when Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley raced to 53 in the first five overs. But Brits said South Africa did not panic.
“There were a lot of nicks and stuff like that,” she said. “We knew we just had to stick to the basics.”
Fast bowler Shabnim Ismail made the first two breakthroughs with the help of catches by Brits at midwicket, first to dismiss Dunkley for 28 and then with a sensational diving effort that sent back Alice Capsey without scoring.
Brits held another diving catch to dismiss Wyatt (34) at backward square leg and then calmly held a high hit from the dangerous Nat Sciver-Brunt (40) at long-on.
Thirty-three runs were needed off 22 balls with six wickets in hand after Sciver-Brunt’s dismissal but medium-pace bowler Ayabonga Khaka took three wickets in the 18th over to put the target just beyond England’s reach.