Defending champions England put up a clinical all-round performance to beat Pakistan by nine wickets in their must-win ICC Women's Cricket World Cup match in Christchurch.
Chasing 106 for the win, Danni Wyatt stepped up and registered her first fifty in the Women's World Cup as England romped home with 184 balls and nine wickets to spare in their must-win clash against Pakistan.
The win keeps England's hopes of defending their World Cup alive as they go fourth in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022 table with a game remaining against Bangladesh. On the other hand, Pakistan, who were mathematically still in with a chance for a semi-final spot ahead of the game, crashed out of the World Cup after their fifth loss.
It was the bowlers who set up the win for England, with Katherine Brunt and Sophie Ecclestone picking up three wickets each to restrict Pakistan to 105. The veteran pacer got the early wickets to peg Pakistan back while the spinner cleaned up the lower-order.
Sidra Ameen and Sidra Nawaz were the only two batters for Pakistan who put up scores of 20+ as the rest of the batting order had no answer to the England bowlers.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl first at Hagley Oval, Brunt played a major role in restricting Pakistan early on. Brunt struck with the first ball of the match when she dismissed Nahida Khan for a duck and some poor running between the wickets saw Bismah Maroof (9) and Omaima Sohail (11) run out shortly after as Pakistan stumbled to 33/3.
Sidra Ameen (32) and Nida Dar (4) combined to help Pakistan make a slight recovery, but Brunt trapped Dar LBW in the 23rd over and then clean bowled Sidra Ameen shortly after to ensure England held the upper hand.
Aliya Riaz and Sidra Nawaz stitched a short 21-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Heather Knight brought herself on and scalped the former off her second ball. Sophie Ecclestone got her first wicket of the game when Fatima Sana's attempted slog sweep caught the edge into the hands of Amy Jones.
Nawaz had no answer to Kate Cross' brilliant nip-backer and was back in the hut for 23. Pakistan managed to get past the 100-run mark before Ecclestone cleaned up the tail and them out for 105.
Chasing a paltry score, Wyatt set the tone by smacking three consecutive boundaries against Fatima Sana in the third over. There was some reason to cheer for Pakistan as Diana Baig trapped Tammy Beaumont in front of the stumps in the very next over, but it turned out to be the only reason for celebration for Maroof's women.
Wyatt kept the foot on the accelerator and was well supported by Heather Knight as England almost knocked half the total in the Powerplay. She got to her fifty in the 14th over, her first in ICC Women's World Cup.
Pakistan had a chance to dismiss Wyatt but Nida Dar misjudged the catch to give the England opener a reprieve. Dar was made to pay for it as Wyatt smashed her for two consecutive boundaries to bring up her second-highest ODI score.
Fittingly, it was Wyatt who hit the winning runs as England got home with nine wickets in hand.
They will next face Bangladesh on the final day of the league stages (27 March), with a victory ensuring them a spot in the semi-final. Pakistan, on the other hand, face hosts New Zealand on 26 March.