You could tell how much it meant for them to play the semi-final of the World Cup after 17 years.
South Africa, aiming to reach their first World Cup final, won the toss battled to 48-2 after Lee Lizelle lost her middle stump trying to hit across the line against Shrubsole and Trisha Chetty was superbly stumped down the leg-side by Sarah Taylor off Nat Sciver.
Players spent out of their pockets to play, and current South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk was 10. Brunt strayed down the leg side on a few occasions, but her partner Anya Shrubsole made the incision, removing the risky Lizelle Lee.
She says that the belief is strong within the side and is excited to see how her team respond to what will be their toughest test yet.
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England's skipper claimed the vital breakthrough by bowling Wolvaardt with her second ball and should have had a second scalp but dropped a return chance offered by Marianne Kapp of her first ball, a full toss.
But if there's one attack that's capable of stopping England's juggernaut, it's South Africa's. Mignon du Preez scored a busy 76 from No. 4, but the game seemed decided in the 43rd over when Chloe Tryon was caught and bowled by Jenny Gunn for one. England dismissed both for just 8 runs between them, which was the difference between a formidable total and the 218 that South Africa finally managed.
New bat Marizanne Kapp was fortunate to survive the next ball, when she sent a rasping shot back at Knight, who couldn't hold on, but departed in the same over, run out by Shrubsole. With depth in their batting, England clearly had a foot in the final, to be played at Lord's, tickets for which were sold out as the partnership progressed.
But a nightmare collapse of three wickets in the space of 12 balls left them five down with 74 runs still needed. She finished with 2/28 from her 10 overs while Luus picked up 2/24.
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The duo of Fran Wilson and Katherine Brunt were forced to rebuild the innings and after putting together a partnership of 28 which soaked up 50 deliveries, Brunt was bowled by Moseline Daniels to put South Africa back in the ascendancy.
Four years ago, the possibility of England playing South Africa in a semi-final would've been scoffed at.
But the two players at the crease were well equipped to shake off the ghosts of past. "What a game of cricket". I'm proud of how Jenny Gunn has played in this tournament, she's taken every opportunity she's had.
Her decision looked to be justified when Wolvaardt struck the first ball of the day for four.
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Finding the boundary on three occasions, and making a huge difference to the team's running between the wickets, the 31-year-old Gunn hardly flinched despite the losses of Wilson (30) and Laura Marsh (1) to set up the win which was confirmed by a boundary from Shrubsole in the fourth ball of the final over to spark joyous scenes in the England dressing room.