Pakistan, Sri Lanka ease to wins, Zimbabwe take low-scorer
Offspinner Christabel Chatonzwa, took four top-order wickets and conceded just 12 runs in four overs, as Zimbabwe Women secured a 29-run victory over Thailand Women in a low-scoring Group A match of the Women's World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Dublin.
Zimbabwe, put in to bat, started slowly, losing opener Thandolwenkosi Mlilo in the third over and managing just 47 after 10 overs. Nonhlanhla Nyathi top scored for the team with a 47-ball 28, but no significant partnership materialised, as Thailand restricted Zimbabwe to 103 for 8.
Somnarin Tippoch was the pick of the bowlers for Thailand, finishing with figures of 4-0-13-2.
Thailand were never convincing in their chase and lost openers Boochatham and Pundarika Prathanmitr within the first four overs. The Zimbabwe bowlers, led by Player-of-the-Match Chatonzwa, were all tidy and incisive, and bowled at an economy rate of less than six.
Somnarin Tippoch put up a fighting 24, but none of the other batsmen managed to reach double figures as Thailand were bowled out for 74 in 18.4 overs.
Both teams will compete in the tournament's Shield semi-finals, along with Japan and Canada, the other two teams that failed to make the main semis.
Pakistan, electing to bat, got off to a slow start, losing both their openers Javeria Khan and Javeria Rauf inside two overs. But Abidi, who was named the Player of the Match, and Bismah Maroof stabilised the innings with a 60-run third-wicket partnership. Maroof departed for 25, but Abidi remained unbeaten and struck three fours during her knock to take Pakistan to a competitive total of 72 for 4.
Netherlands began their innings slowly, Pakistan keeping them well below the required run-rate. Opener Helmien Rambaldo top scored with 15, and Netherlands could only manage three boundaries throughout the innings and, ultimately, their failure to accelerate the scoring meant they could only put up 52 in their nine overs.
In Group B, 46 year-old Durriya Shabbir and Suthershini Sivanantham helped Canada Women to a tense five-wicket win after their bowlers had made their job all the more tougher, presenting Japan Women their top score with 27 wides and one bye.
Japan suffered early setbacks after being put in to bat, losing Mariko Yamamoto and captain Shizuka Miyaji off successive balls in the second over. A 35-run union between Chihiro Sakamoto and Kurumi Ota steadied the innings, but it slumped again after their partnership was broken in the ninth over. Japan lost two more wickets and were at 65 for 5 in the 13th over when an unbeaten 33-run stand between Ayako Nakayama and Etsuko Kobayashi took them to 97 in their 20 overs.
Monali Patel fell early in the chase, but Canada found stability in wicketkeeper Sivanantham, who made 32 off 41 balls. But Japan kept up the pressure, claiming four wickets, including Sivanantham's, in five overs to leave Canada at 46 for five in the 12th over. As the required rate mounted past six, a 54-run unbeaten stand between Shabbir, who top-scored with 36, with four fours, and Sheryl Tittlemier sealed the win for Canada.
In the other Group B clash, Ireland Women, who had put up the tournament's two highest totals, could only manage 62 for 9 in their 20 overs against Sri Lanka Women and fell to an eight-wicket defeat.
After being put in to bat, Ireland lost Clare Shillington, who had come into this match off of two successive match-winning efforts - 81 against Canada and 114* against Japan, and Cecelia Joyce, both bowled by Sripali Weerakkody, in the space of three balls during the second over.
Sri Lanka would enjoy further instances of two Ireland batters falling one ball apart from each other - Captain Isobel Joyce was out leg-before and Mary Waldron was caught short of her ground in the 12th over leaving Ireland at 25 for 5, while Melissa Scott-Hayward and Laura Delany fell in the 15th. Ireland had to wait for the final-wicket pair of Elena Tice and Louise McCarthy to record their highest partnership of 23 runs.
Sri Lanka began the chase cautiously, ensuring they did not lose any wickets in the first five overs and completed a straight forward chase with 31 balls to spare to record their third win in as many matches in the group stage.
Despite their defeats, Netherlands and Ireland will join Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the semi-finals, which will be played on July 29. The top three teams of the tournament will go through to the Women's World T20 in Bangladesh.