by Rex Clementine
All what we know is that Tazmin Brits, who provided a telling blow to England’s chances in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup is a late developer having represented South Africa at the age of 27. But there’s more to this gutty cricketer than that. This athlete was destined to make headlines in another sport but fate would have other ideas.
The well built Tazmin won the gold medal in the 2007 World Junior Athletics Championship at the age of 16. She was one of South Africa’s biggest hopes at the 2012 London Olympics, but she met with a car accident that left her with a broken pelvis and a dislocated hip. She had to rediscover herself in sports after such a life threatening injury and it was cricket she chose.
On Friday in South Africa’s sporting capital of Cape Town she did something remarkable to help her country achieve something that they had never done before - to reach the finals of a cricket World Cup for the first time.
Successive men’s South African teams since their readmission to cricket in 1991 after the end of apartheid have been labeled as favourites to win titles only to fall desperately short in the knockout stages. There’s been the odd run out, a heartbreaking dropped catch, a controversial selection, rain or miscalculation. More than anything South Africans have choked when the going got tough.
But this was no occasion to throw away such a fine opportunity. Brits made it count. The second leading run scorer in the tournament, she had smashed 68 off 55 balls with five fours and two sixes.
A total of 165 would have given South Africa some hope but if there was any team that was going to chase that down it was England.
In their last group game against Pakistan, England had posted 213 for five. They had been unbeaten in the competition having cruised to victory in their four group games.
When the openers brought up 50 runs inside five overs, England were running away with things. It was then Brits made her presence felt not only catching everything that came her way but the ones far from her reach too. She ended up with four catches, equaling the world record for most catches in an innings.
England fell short by six runs as South Africa fixed a date with defending champions Australia on Sunday.
Some 7500 fans witnessed the semi-final on Friday but you can expect a full house on Sunday as tickets were selling like hot cakes for the final. This has been a difficult few years for South Africa in cricket and Tazmin Brits has made it a memorable one. Athletics’ loss has been cricket’s gain. South Africa may have lost out on an Olympic medal, but they are set to create history on Sunday in cricket.