Lahore : England, Australia and South Africa booked their places in the semi-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2017 with a game to spare after convincing wins on Wednesday.
England continued its good form with a 75-run victory over New Zealand, Australia bounced back from defeat against the host to score an eight-wicket win over India, while South Africa also defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets.
England and Australia are now both on 10 points with England placed at the top of the points table owing to a better net run-rate while South Africa is third with nine points. India and New Zealand are on eight and seven points respectively, with the winner of their last match on Saturday set to make the knockouts.
Meg Lanning inspired Australia to victory with an excellent 79 not out with seven fours and one six, and that was after Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry had taken two wickets each to restrict India to 226-7 from their 50 overs.
And Lanning and Perry then saw Australia home with just under five overs to spare.
Natalie Sciver scored an excellent 129 from 111 balls as England beat New Zealand by 75 runs in Derby.
Sciver hit 11 fours on the way to her quick-fire century. Tammy Beaumont hit 93 as England scored 284 from their 50 overs.
Alex Hartley was the pick of the England bowlers as she took three for 44 as no New Zealand batter scored a half-century.
Captain Suzie Bates top scored with 44 as New Zealand was bowled out for 209.
In the other game, South Africa booked its place in the semi-final with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.
Dane van Niekerk starred with the ball as she took her third four-wicket haul as Sri Lanka was bowled out for 101.
And South Africa made that in just over 23 overs for the loss of just two wickets.
England vs New Zealand
Sciver plundered her second century of the ICC Women’s World Cup – as host England safely secured passage to the semi-finals by cruising past New Zealand at The County Ground in Derby.
Both England’s Katherine Brunt and New Zealand’s Amy Satterthwaite were awarded special caps in a ceremony before the match to mark the occasion of their 100th ODIs but only Brunt was smiling come the end of play, following the triumph.
Knowing that victory would seal a last-four spot with its final pool game against the West Indies still to come on Saturday, England took control by posting 284 for nine, thanks in no small part to Sciver’s classy knock, which included 11 boundaries.
And the 24-year-old was ecstatic to make another ton, especially given that England was struggling at 52 for three when she came to the crease.
“That knock rates pretty highly for me,” said Sciver. “When I went in [at 52 for three] and saw Tammy [Beaumont], we knew we needed a partnership.
“It was trickier to bat today compared to previous games, so we knew we needed a partnership.
“It’s not necessarily about a target when you first come to the crease, just playing smart cricket and getting a partnership.
“It definitely got easier towards the end – I knew I needed to take it deep and stay in until close to the end.”
Sciver was ably supported by Tammy Beaumont’s 93 from 102 balls, before Alex Hartley took three wickets, and Anya Shrubsole and Jenny Gunn two each, to restrict New Zealand to 209 in response.
Sciver had never made an ODI century heading into the tournament but now has two, having scored 137 against Pakistan and with the aggressive shot-making she demonstrated against the White Ferns, it was no less than she deserved.
Sixteen-year-old Amelia Kerr impressed once again as the New Zealand spinner took four for 51 but her side’s batters failed to build any meaningful partnerships in response.
Suzie Bates (44) and Satterthwaite (35) looked most likely to give the White Ferns hope as they put on 75 for the second wicket but once the duo were dismissed in quick succession by Alex Hartley and Laura Marsh respectively, the writing was on the wall.
And Katie Perkins’ battling 43 not out couldn’t prevent England easing to victory, meaning New Zealand’s final pool game against India on Saturday will be vital – with the winner set to join the host in the last-four.
Australia vs India
Australia marched into the last-four with a convincing win in Bristol, but India skipper Mithali Raj did have something to celebrate as she became the highest run-scorer in women’s ODIs.
Defending champion Australia won the toss under cloudy skies and got the early breakthrough as Smriti Mandhana was dismissed by Ashleigh Gardner for just three.
But that brought Raj to the crease, and alongside centurion Poonam Raut (106 off 136 balls) a 157-run partnership both gave India a great platform on 166 for one, and saw the captain past Charlotte Edwards’ record ODI run total of 5,992.
Five wickets for just 17 runs towards the end of India’s innings however restricted its total to just 226 for seven.
Australia then looked well set on 62 without loss, and despite losing Nicole Bolton (36) and Beth Mooney (45) after both openers got starts, skipper Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry cruised home with 29 balls to spare after both notching unbeaten half centuries in a stand of 124.
“Ellyse and I enjoy batting together and we knew that if we were quite positive and attacking then we would be able to get our momentum going,” said Lanning, who now has 328 runs in the tournament at an average of 109.33, despite missing a game with a shoulder injury.
“It got easier to bat the longer we were out there, and I’m still feeling pretty good batting with the shoulder – it’s an ongoing thing that I’m dealing with, but I know I can still contribute to the side.”
South Africa vs Sri Lanka
South Africa captain Dane Van Niekerk took her third four-for of the ICC Women’s World Cup as her side breezed past Sri Lanka.
Van Niekerk dismissed two within four balls as her dominance with the ball continued, with Shabnim Ismail taking three wickets for herself as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 101.
A shaky start at the crease for South Africa, in which they lost two wickets in quick succession, was soon rectified as Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon Du Preez quickly brought up their fifty partnership, going on to complete the chase with 27 overs remaining.
Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat, but was dealt a big blow in the second over when Chamari Athapaththu was trapped LBW for one.
More wickets tumbled as Ismail and Van Niekerk continued to pile the pressure on the Sri Lankan batters, the latter dismissing Chamari Polgampala and Prasadani Weerakkodi in the 20th over after they had started to chip away.
Sri Lanka were eventually bowled out in the 40th over, but it wasn’t a smooth start to the innings for South Africa as they saw Lizelle Lee and Trisha Chetty dismissed quickly.
But Wolvaardt and Du Preez soon put the game to bed, steadily completing the chase just two runs shy of Wolvaardt’s half-century.
“I could get used to winning like this,” said Van Niekerk. “It shows the hard work the girls have put in and that it is paying off.
“Getting an injury two months before the World Cup and then coming in and trying to bowl works, I guess.
“It’s been good. My pace bowlers are making my job a lot easier, they’re putting so much pressure on the top and middle order.”
Scores in brief:
England beat New Zealand by 75 runs at The County Ground, Derby
England 284-9 in 50 overs (Natalie Sciver 129, Tammy Beaumont 93, Amelia Kerr 4-51, Leigh Kasperek 2-49)
New Zealand 209 all out in 46.4 overs (Suzie Bates 44, Katie Perkins 43 not out, Amy Satterthwaite 35; Alex Hartley 3-44, Anya Shrubsole 2-19, Jenny Gunn 2-32)
Player of the match – Natalie Sciver (England)
Next matches – England v West Indies, The County Ground, Bristol, 15 July; New Zealand v India, The County Ground, Derby, 15 July
Australia beat India by eight wickets at Bristol County Ground, Bristol
India 226-7 in 50 overs (Poonam Raut 106, Mithali Raj 69, Harmanpreet Kaur 23; Ellyse Perry 3-27, Megan Schutt 2-52)
Australia 227-2 in 45.1 overs (Meg Lanning 76 not out, Ellyse Perry 60 not out, Beth Mooney 45)
Player of the match – Meg Lanning (Australia)
Next matches – India v New Zealand, County Ground, Derby, 15 July; South Africa v Australia, County Ground, Taunton, 15 July
South Africa beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets at The County Ground, Taunton
Sri Lanka: 101 all out in 40.3 overs (Chamari Polgampala 25; Dilani Manodara 25; Dane Van Niekerk 4-24; Shabnim Ismail 3-14)
South Africa: 104-2 in 23.1 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 48 not out; Mignon du Preez 38 not out)
Player of the match – Dane Van Niekerk (South Africa)
Next matches – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Grace Road, Leicester, 15 July; South Africa v Australia, The County Ground, Taunton, 15 July