SYLHET, Bangladesh (ICC) -- The four semi-finalists for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 have now been confirmed with a day remaining in the group stage matches, which are being played at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
Squads that have progressed from the group stage which started on 23 March include defending champion Australia, former winner England, South Africa and the West Indies.
However, the semi-final line-up will only be decided after Tuesday’s match between the West Indies and India, which will start at 1930 (local time). If the West Indies wins the match to finish unbeaten in its group, then it will top Group B and will play South Africa on 4 April, while Australia will face England on 3 April. But if India beats the West Indies, then the West Indies will end second in Group B, which, in turn, means the semi-finals line-up will be Australia versus the West Indies on 3 April and England versus South Africa on 4 April.
Both the semi-finals will be staged ahead of the men’s semi-finals at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, and will start at 1430 (local time).
The semi-finalists from Group A were only confirmed on Monday after South Africa beat New Zealand by five wickets. This result meant Australia, South Africa and New Zealand finished with three wins each but Australia topped the group with a superior net run-rate (+2.205), South Africa finished second (+1.606) and New Zealand ended up third (+1.275).
Australia captain Meg Lanning said that her team would do all it could to defend its title in Mirpur.
“We are looking forward to heading back to Dhaka for our next challenge in this tournament, which will be our semi-final against England or West Indies. We've played some good cricket up until this point and enjoyed the atmosphere in Sylhet. The big games are still to come and this is a situation we've found ourselves in in recent times and hopefully that experience will bode well for us," said Lanning.
South Africa captain Mignon Du Preez was ecstatic to be travelling to Dhaka for the semi-finals.
“The girls have been working so hard for the past few years. We knew we had it in us but we could never make it click in the crucial stages, so to do that tonight is absolutely amazing. I’m honoured to be captain of this team and to lead South Africa in our first semi-finals,” said Du Preez.
West Indies, a semi-finalist in 2010 and 2012, was the first side to seal a semi-final berth from Group B after it won three matches straight. It started with an eight wickets victory over Sri Lanka and followed up with a 36-run win against Bangladesh and a nine-run win against 2009 winner England. However, its position in the group will only be confirmed after its match against India.
A delighted West Indies captain Merissa Aguillera said it’s time for the team to shed its bridesmaid status.
“As a side, we can’t rush into things as we are still a developing side,” she said, adding: “We have been around for a while, but the success we’ve enjoyed has been tremendous. It’s a pleasure to lead this team because we came together from nowhere and have turned into a team that’s made people sit up and take notice. We will be looking forward to doing even better things.”
England, which was also the runner-up to Australia in 2012, notched up three wins in four matches, ending its group stage performance with a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Sunday evening.
England captain Charlotte Edwards, who won the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2008 and was player of the tournament in 2012, was thrilled to go through to the knock-out stage.
“We really back ourselves, and the way the girls have bounced back from the first defeat is outstanding. We feel we’re in a really good position going into the semi-finals stage of this tournament. This is the part of the tournament we all looking forward to, we get to play in front of the big crowds and a television audience. We really can’t wait to get there,” said Edwards.