India and South Africa completed comprehensive victories in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 on Friday to become the first two teams from the tournament to qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 to be held in England and Wales from 24 June to 23 July.
India scored a nine-wicket win over Bangladesh to maintain an unbeaten record in the tournament and take its Super Six points tally to eight, including for two wins against other qualifiers from its preliminary league group, points of which are carried over.
South Africa also beat host Sri Lanka by nine wickets to go up to six points, which will take it through since the chances of a five-way tie are eliminated after today’s results. In another match, Pakistan scored an 86-run win over Ireland and kept in contention for the remaining two qualifying spots with four points, the same as Sri Lanka.
World champion Australia, England, New Zealand and the West Indies have already qualified for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 by virtue of finishing in the top four in the ICC Women’s Championship.
At the Nondescripts Cricket Club, India made short work of its challenge as it restricted Bangladesh to 155 for eight with pace bowler Mansi Joshi and leg-spinner Devika Vaidya keeping control through the innings, sharing five scalps. Fargana Hoque top-scored for Bangladesh with 50.
India got to 158 for one in 33.3 overs with opener Mona Meshram striking a career-best 78 not out with 12 fours and captain Mithali Raj compiling 73 not out with 10 fours for a 43rd ODI half-century.
Player of the match Mona Meshram: “There is always pressure when you are playing for your country but it is important to be calm and composed. You need to concentrate to make use of the opportunities. Mithali’s experience helps when you bat with her. The pressure is released when she plays her shots.”
At the P. Sara Stadium, South Africa was also a composed winner despite an off-colour effort with its fielding. The 21-year-old Sune Luus produced an all-round performance of three for 40 and 50 not out to take the team past its target of 143 in 36.1 overs.
Luus shared five scalps with captain and the team’s other leg-spinner, Dane van Niekerk, and then partnered in a 99-run unbroken stand with 17-year-opener Laura Wolvaardt (50 not out).
Player of the match Sune Luus: “It was a very important match for us, not just to qualify but I think for us to keep the pressure off the next game as well. The pace bowlers set the match up nicely and the batters could just do their job.
“Fielding is something we need to improve and we are busy working on it. We are a much better side than we are displaying at the moment. This (qualification) is what we have been working for. I think we are going to celebrate tonight but also not lose sight of what’s coming. We are playing Ireland next and hopefully a final!”
In another match, Pakistan put up a determined effort to post an intimidating 271 for five after electing to bat against Ireland.
In-form batters Javeria Khan (90 not out) and opener Nahida Khan (72) played positively for their second consecutive half-centuries after scoring 64 and 63, respectively, in a loss against Sri Lanka. Javeria struck 14 fours and Nahida hit 10 fours in her career-best knock as the pair figured in a 138-run second-wicket partnership.
Nain Abidi also chipped in with a brisk 44 to help push Ireland out of contention for a top-four berth since it has no points in the Super Six with only one match to go.
Ireland was bowled out for 185 with a 74-run second-wicket stand between Cecelia Joyce (41) and Kim Garth (33) being the high point of the innings. For Pakistan, leg-spinner Nashra Sandhu, left-arm spinner Sadia Yousuf and captain and off-spinner Sana Mir all grabbed two wickets each.
Scores in brief:
South Africa beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets at P. Sara Stadium
Sri Lanka 142-9 in 50 overs (Nipuni Hansika 48, Sune Luus 3-40, Dane van Niekerk 2-14).
South Africa 145-1 in 36.1 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 50 not out, Sune Luus 50 not out, Lizelle Lee 35).
India beat Bangladesh by nine wickets at Nondescripts Cricket Club
Bangladesh 155-8 in 50 overs (Fargana Hoque 50, Shamin Akhter 35, Mansi Joshi 3-25, Devika Vaidya 2-17).
India 158-1 in 33.3 overs (Mona Meshram 78 not out, Mithali Raj 73 not out).
Pakistan beat Ireland by 86 runs at Colombo Cricket Club
Pakistan 271-5 in 50 overs (Javeria Khan 90 not out, Nahida Khan 72, Nain Abidi 44, Gaby Lewis 2-62)
Ireland 185 all out in 48.5 overs (Cecelia Joyce 41, Kim Garth 33, Isobel Joyce 33, Nashra Sandhu 2-25, Sana Mir 2-32, Sadia Yousuf 2-45).