PAARL: The battle to reach the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals will go down to the last group match after New Zealand kept their hopes alive with a 102-run rout of Sri Lanka at Boland Park in Paarl on Sunday. “We’ve given ourselves a chance, even it’s only a small, tiny chance,” said New Zealand captain Sophie Devine. Australia are assured of winning Group One but the other qualifiers from the group will only be known after South Africa play Bangladesh at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday.
New Zealand moved into second place, but will be overtaken if South Africa beat Bangladesh. Sri Lanka, who won their first two matches, finished level on points with New Zealand but were eliminated on net run rate. West Indies beat Pakistan in Group Two earlier Sunday in a result that ensured that England would qualify.
India will join them if they beat bottom team Ireland in Gqeberha on Monday. If Ireland pull off an improbable win, Pakistan will have a slight chance of overtaking India if they beat England on Tuesday. “It is a very important match for us,” said Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof. “We have played good cricket and we will try to continue that.” That New Zealand would still be in the reckoning seemed impossible when they lost heavily against Australia and South Africa.
But the White Ferns stormed back with an 81-run win against Bangladesh before turning on the power on Sunday, scoring 162 for three and then bowling out Sri Lanka for 60. “We spoke about scoring 160 even though it was a tougher wicket than Newlands (in Cape Town),” said Devine. That was achieved through half-centuries by Suzie Bates (56) and Amelia Kerr (66) after Bernadine Bezuidenhout set the tone with an aggressive 32 off 20 balls. “We always knew 160 was going to be competitive and then the bowlers were fantastic,” said Devine.
“It was a tough day,” said Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu. “I have only a few experienced players in the team. We learnt a lot of things today.” West Indian captain Hayley Matthews said a strong finish to their campaign gave her hope for the future of women’s cricket in the Caribbean. The West Indies beat Pakistan by three runs to finish their group fixtures with two wins out of four. They ended a 15-match T20 losing streak when they beat Ireland in their previous match and showed character in the win over Pakistan, defending a total of of 116 for six, which Matthews believed was “20 runs short.”
“We have a lot of young players in our squad and with our young players developing we are moving in the right direction,” said Matthews. It was a bitter-sweet day for Pakistan veteran Nida Dar, who took two for 13 in four overs of accurate off-spin to equal former West Indies player Anisa Mohammed’s record of 125 wickets in women’s T20 internationals. Dar scored 27 runs in Pakistan’s reply but couldn’t take her team to victory. The semi-finals will be played on Thursday and Friday, with the final on Sunday. All the knock-out matches will be at Newlands. – AFP