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Pakistan crash to 17-run defeat after Laura Wolvaardt's whirlwind 53
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Pakistan crash to 17-run defeat after Laura Wolvaardt's whirlwind 53

Laura Wolvaardt blasted a quickfire half-century as South Africa secured a 17-run win over Pakistan to become the first team from Group B to book a spot in the women's T20 World Cup semi-finals.

In pursuit of the challenging target of 137 on a sluggish surface, Pakistan could manage only 119 for five as they were hurt by the absence of regular skipper Bismah Maroof.

The Proteas have maintained an unbeaten run in the group stage thus far including a surprise victory over tournament favourites England in their opening game.

Pakistan's hopes of qualifying for the final four are all but eliminated considering their poor net run rate and a dearth of points. They will be out of the competition if England defeat West Indies today.

"I'm really happy, but have to give credit to Pakistan, they gave it a massive go and kept coming at us," said South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk.

"It was an incredible game to be a part of. It's only her [Wolvaardt's] third time batting at five, she usually bats at the top, and to display her skills like that, she got us the winning total."

Pakistan kept things quiet during the South African innings for an extended period with pace spearhead Diana Baig getting rid of the dangerous Lizelle Lee, who smashed a century in the last match against Thailand.

Baig's heroics with the ball saw her remove van Niekerk for a low score leaving the Proteas in dire straits at 17 for two.

Mignon du Preez (17) and Marizanne Kapp (31) offered stability in their steady stand and set the platform for Wolvaardt to cut loose in the death overs.

Wolvaardt took the attack to the bowlers with magnificent cover drives that found the boundary fence as she plundered 29 runs in the last two overs of the innings.

Pakistan's openers began their chase briskly but Shabnim Ismail applied the brakes by bowling a rare T20 wicket-maiden.

A comical mix-up in the middle left stand-in captain Javeria Khan well short of her crease and the explosive Nida Dar soon departed for a paltry contribution of three.

Javeria's scalp was the energy-sapping blow to Pakistan's chase since she was batting beautifully in her 100th T20I, racing to 31 in no time.

Aliya Riaz and Iram Javed struck a series of wonderful hits but the asking rate had surged well out of their reach.

"I would say fielding and bowling was good for the first 16 overs and then we lost our way a bit," said Javeria.

"It was a slow wicket and we should have restricted them to under 120, If we'd done that, the game would have been different."

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