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ICC Women's World Cup turns into 'cut-throat'

Tammy Beaumont of England bats during the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 match between England and West Indies at The County Ground on July 15, 2017 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
by Philip Barker

BRISTOL - July 17,2017 - Hosts England take on South Africa in the first sudden death semi-final of the Womenís Cricket World Cup on Tuesday on the back of an unbeaten run of six matches in the round robin section of the competition.

England were victorious when the two sides met on the same ground two weeks ago thanks in no small part to a monumental record breaking second wicket partnership of 275 from Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor.

England have not lost since their opening day defeat to India and completed the round robin phase with a comfortable 92 run win over the West Indies.

"The best thing about our squad is that someone steps up every single game," said Beaumont. "We all need to be on form heading into the semi-final."

South Africaís own qualification was made possible following a stunning victory against India, though skipper Dana Van Niekerk is not fazed by the teamís previous encounter with England.

"I donít think thereís any pressure on us at all, I donít think people expected us to be here. Itís a challenge and the girls will be training hard."

Whichever side wins will have the advantage of two extra rest days before the final at Lordís on Sunday 23rd July.

India secured the remaining semi-final spot with an overwhelming victory over New Zealand during the weekend. Record international runs scorer Mithali Raj struck a magnificent 109 before New Zealand crumbled to 79 all out.

"If you are aiming to be in the top four teams in the world you have to come back after defeats. In the previous World Cups, we had not done that so it was important to do so," said Raj.

They meet defending World Champions Australia at Derby. The fitness of captain Meg Lanning remains a problem after a recurrence of her shoulder injury. Lanning was deliberately rested when the Australians convincingly beat South Africa at Taunton.

"It is pretty cut-throat now, we canít afford to be off our game and as we have seen throughout the tournament, it you have an off day, the other team can get a really big jump on you," said Australiaís Nicole Bolton.

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