Defending champion Australia and India overpowered New Zealand and Pakistan respectively in the matches between the neighbours to register their third successive victories in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 on Sunday.
Australia spoiled Suzie Bates’s 100th ODI by reaching the 220-run target in the penultimate over for the loss of five wickets in Bristol, while India overcame a watchful and cautious batting display to successfully defend a modest score of 169 for nine by bowling Pakistan out for 74 to win by 95 runs in Derby.
Elsewhere, England coasted to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka when it chased down a 205-run target with more than 19 overs to spare in Taunton, while South Africa dismissed the West Indies for 48 - the 17th lowest score in the history of women’s ODIs – before overhauling the target inside seven overs with all 10 wickets intact in Leicester
After round three of seven, Australia and India are the only unbeaten sides in the tournament, while England and South Africa have won two matches apiece. New Zealand is sitting on one victory whereas Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are still searching for their maiden wins.
Australia’s remaining matches are against Pakistan (5 July, Leicester), England (9 July, Bristol), India (12 July, Bristol) and South Africa (15 July, Taunton), while India has to play Sri Lanka (5 July, Derby), South Africa (8 July, Leicester), Australia (12 July, Bristol) and New Zealand (15 July, Derby). If both the sides can manage a couple of more wins each, then they will be guaranteed spots in the semi-finals, irrespective of how the other matches in the group stage pan out.
As far as England is concerned, it too remains one of the favourites to progress to the last four stage as its remaining matches are against South Africa (5 July, Bristol), Australia (9 July, Bristol), New Zealand (12 July, Derby) and West Indies (15 July, Derby), while either New Zealand or South Africa is expected to complete the semi-final line-up.
Bowlers dominated day seven of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 with India’s Ekta Bisht turning out to be the pick with figures of 10-2-18-5. South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk recorded figures of 3.2-3-0-4, her team-mate Marizanne Kapp finished with analysis of 7-2-14-4, England’s Laura Marsh finished with 10-0-45-4 and Nashra Sandhu of Pakistan’s ended up with figures of 10-1-26-4.
Amongst the batters, Ellyse Perry of Australia, England’s duo of Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor, and New Zealand’s pair of Katie Perkins and Suzie Bates stroked impressive half-centuries.
Australia v New Zealand, Bristol
In the feature match of the day in Bristol, Bates, playing in her 100th ODI, made the right call on the spin of coin and elected to bat first. She then spearheaded a positive New Zealand start before a middle-order collapse saw the White Ferns slip from 85 for two to 147 for six. Only a rearguard action by Katie Perkins (52, 59b, 5x4) and Erin Bermingham (35, 42b, 3x4), who added 49 runs for the seventh wicket, helped New Zealand finish its allotted quota of 50 overs at 219 for nine.
Bates, who became the 28th women’s player to feature in 100 or more ODIs, finished as her side’s top scorer with 51 that came off 76 balls and included six fours. Before the start of the match and to mark her 100th ODI, a special cap was presented to her by former White Ferns player Paula Flannery. Bates’ parents also attended this presentation ceremony.
For Australia, Jess Jonassen (three for 33) and Megan Schutt (three for 40) shared wickets.
The score never really threatened a strong Australia batting line-up as it achieved the target in 48.4 overs for the loss of five wickets. All the batters came to the party with openers Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton scoring 32 and 26 respectively, No.3 batter Meg Lanning hitting 48, No.4 batter Ellyse Perry top scoring with 71 (91b, 4x4) and No.6 batter Alex Blackwell finishing on 35 not out.
Lanning and Perry added 71 runs for the third wicket partnership, while Perry and Blackwell put on 76 for the fifth wicket.
Perry, later adjudged player of the match, said: Perry said: “I’ve really enjoyed batting in recent months and near the top of the order. We felt like we were reasonably in control in terms of the chase. With these hard squares, you can get in and capitalise with wide balls and things.
“Today has been our biggest test against a fantastic team in New Zealand, they always give us a tough game.”
India v Pakistan, Derby
In a low scoring classic in front of nearly 3,000 spectators, India’s decision to bat first seemed to have backfired when it reached 85 for two after the halfway stage and 114 for six after 40 overs. However, the eventual score of 169 for nine proved to be too much for Pakistan as it was bundled out for 74 in 38.1 overs after slipping to 51 for nine.
In tough batting conditions, Punam Raut with 47 off 72 balls inclusive of five fours finished as the top scorer of the match. She was followed by team-mates Sushma Verma (33) and Deepti Sharma (28). Pakistan’s top scorer was captain Sana Mir (29), while opener Nahida Khan scored 23.
Bowling honours were shared between India’s Ekta Bisht and Nashra Sandhu of Pakistan, who both recorded career-best figures. The 31-year-old India left-arm spinner finished with figures of five for 18 from 10 overs, while the 19-year-old left-arm Pakistan spinner returned figures of 10-1-26-4.
Captain Mithali Raj praised Bisht’s performance, saying: “Ekta has always delivered when she has been given the challenge of the new ball. She’s delivered time and again for India and I’m very proud of her. Her spell was so crucial. She gave us the heads up with the wickets in her first spell that got the team back into it.
“When we reached 170 I knew that it could anybody’s game, we just needed those early breakthroughs so that we were in it.”
England v Sri Lanka, Taunton
A 148-run third wicket partnership in just over 22 overs between captain Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor set the stage for England’s convincing seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in front of nearly 3,500 spectators.
Knight scored a 76-ball 82 with 10 fours and a six, while Taylor returned unbeaten on 74 from 67 balls with 11 fours as the host nation overhauled the 205-run target with seven wickets and more than 19 overs to spare. Lauren Winfield with 26 was the other notable contributor.
Earlier, 30-year-old Laura Marsh captured four for 45 and 24-year-old Natalie Sciver snapped up two for 32 as Sri Lanka stuttered to 204 for eight in 50 overs after slipping from 84 for two in the 22nd over to 145 for seven in the 39th over.
No.8 batter Oshadhi Ranasinghe(26) added 45 valuable runs for the ninth wicket with No.10 batter Ama Kanchana (34 not out) to bring some respectability to the Sri Lanka score.
In the top order, Hasini Perera (46), Shashikala Siriwardena (33) and Dilani Manodara (28) batted well, while Chamari Athapaththu, who scored 178 not out in the previous match against Australia, became one of two victims for Sciver after scoring a three-ball one.
Marsh, later adjudged player of the match, said: “It’s great to get another win on the board and I thought the girls played really well, we were good in the field with the ball and the girls knocked them off convincingly at the end.
“Every time you get a chance to play, it’s pretty special especially in a home world cup, to get the chance to bowl and take some wickets was really special."
South Africa v West Indies, Leicester
In one of the most outstanding and impressive spells of leg-spin bowling in women’s ODIs, South Africa’s 24-year-old captain Dane van Niekerk returned figures of 3.2-3-0-4 as the West Indies was sent packing for a paltry 48 in 25.2 overs after being put into bat.
This was the 17th lowest score by any side in 1066 women’s ODIs to date, and second lowest by the West Indies since making 41 against England in Loughborough in 2002.
Van Niekerk ripped the heart out of the West Indies’ middle and lower middle-order batting after 27-year-old bowler Marizanne Kapp had caused the initial damage by capturing four for 14, with her new ball Shabnim Ismail grabbing two for 16 to justify their captain’s decision to bowl first.
The only West Indies batter to offer some resistance was Chedean Nation, who scored 26 off 53 balls with five fours.
South Africa batters cashed in on the opportunity to improve their net run-rate by racing to the 49-run victory in just 38 balls to romp home with all 10 wickets and more than 43 overs to spare. Lizelle Lee clubbed six fours in her 16-ball 29 not out, while Laura Wolvaardt returned not out on 19 that came off 22 balls and included three fours.
Van Niekerk later said: “It was quite surreal, if I could script it I would not have written it like that.
“We had our plans coming into the game and it worked to the tee. I’m really proud of the bowlers, especially my two opening bowlers, they were world class.”
Scores in brief
South Africa beat the West Indies by 10 wickets in Leicester
West Indies 48 all out, 25.2 overs (Chedean Nation 26; Dane van Niekerk 3.2-3-0-4, Marizanne Kapp 7-2-14-4, Shabnim Ismail 2-16)
South Africa 51-0, 6.2 overs (Lizelle Lee 29 not out, Laura Wolfvaardt 19 not out)
Player of the match – Marizanne Kapp (South Africa)
Australia beat New Zealand by five wickets in Bristol
New Zealand 219-9, 50 overs (Katie Perkins 52, Suzie Bates 51, Erin Bermingham 35, Amy Satterthwaite 21; Jess Jonassen 3-33, Megan Schutt 3-40)
Australia 220-5, 48.4 overs (Ellyse Perry 71, Meg Lanning 48, Alex Blackwell 35 not out, Beth Mooney 32, Nicole Bolton 26; Anna Peterson 2-27, Amelia Karr 2-42)
Player of the match – Ellyse Perry (Australia)
England beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Taunton
Sri Lanka 204-8, 50 overs (Hasini Perera 46, Ama Kanchana 34 not out, Shashikala Siriwardena 33, Dilani Manodara 28, Oshadhi Ranasinghe 26; Laura Marsh 4-45; Natalie Sciver 2-32)
England 206-3, 30.2 overs (Heather Knight 82, Sarah Taylor 74 not out, Lauren Winfield 26; Ama Kanchana 2-38)
Player of the match – Laura Marsh (England)
India beat Pakistan by 95 runs in Derby
India 169-9, 50 overs (Punam Raut 47, Sushma Verma 33, Deepti Sharma 28; Nashra Sandhu 4-26, Sadia Yousuf 2-30)
Pakistan 74 all out, 38.1 overs (Sana Mir 29, Nahida Khan 23; Ekta Bisht 10-2-18-5)
Player of the match – Ekta Bisht (India)
Wednesday, 5 July:
England v South Africa, Bristol
Sri Lanka v India, Derby
Pakistan v Australia, Leicester
Thursday, 6 July:
New Zealand v West Indies, Taunton