ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers, 5th day round-up February 24, 2008

Impressive South Africa take title

Cricinfo staff

South Africa 62 for 2 beat Pakistan 61 (Smith 5-7) by eight wickets

Alicia Smith was the star of the final with the outstanding figures of 5 for 7 © ICC
With both South Africa and Pakistan already assured of places in the World Cup the final of the qualifiers in Stellenbosh was all about bragging rights and they went South Africa's way with an overwhelming eight-wicket victory. Alicia Smith's five wickets skittled Pakistan for a paltry 61 and it took the home side less than 14 overs to knock off the runs.

South Africa have been far and away the best team in the tournament and again showed the gap between themselves and the rest. Smith struck with her first ball by trapping Bismah Maroof lbw - the first of five ducks for Pakistan - and there were some easy pickings on offer. Smith took her tournament haul to 11 wickets and Tasqeen Qadeer (12) was the only batsman to reach double figures.

As throughout the event extras played a major part in the scoring and were the major contributor with 26. Conceding 15 wides was the one blemish for South Africa in the field.

"I was really pleased. I had been feeling a bit down before today as I had felt I had underperformed in this tournament, so I just wanted to focus on the basics and I was pleased it all worked out," Smith said.

"Getting a place on the plane to Australia for me is the most important thing at the moment. I dropped out of the team last year, as I fell ill and had to withdraw from the squad, which was very disappointing, so it's great to be back in the side."

It was only ever a question of how quickly the runs would be knocked off despite two early wickets for Asmavia Iqbal, including Cri-zelda Brits for a duck. Claire Terblanche and Susan Benade rattled off a 49-run stand in less than 10 overs to hurry South Africa across the finish line. Now the challenge will be to repeat their success of the past week in Australia in 2009.

Brits paid tribute to the efforts and her side and singled out Smith for special praise. "I think all of my bowlers did extremely well," she said. "Alicia was excellent and showed the kind of character that I want from my team."

Brits was also delighted with the support the South African side received from a passionate home crowd at Stellenbosch University. "I haven't played in front of a crowd like that in South Africa for ages. I think it's really important to get people to come and watch our games as hopefully that will encourage people to start playing as well."

Third-place play-off

Ireland 237 (C Joyce 65, Shillington 60, de Fouw 3-23, Braat 3-39) beat Netherlands 168 for 9 (Metcalfe 3-21, Whelan 3-54) by 69 runs

Ireland gained the minor consolation of third place with a 69-run win over Netherlands after the heartbreak of missing a World Cup place. The victory was set-up by a 113-run stand between Cecelia Joyce and Clare Shillington before a tight bowling display as Heather Whelan and Ciara Metcalfe shared six wickets.

Joyce and Shillington added their runs in 21 overs as Ireland moved comfortably to 159 for 2 with 20 overs remaining. Their progress was helped by another generous supply of extras, which eventually totalled 55 with 41 wides. However, Netherlands managed to claw back the innings as Marloes Braat took three wickets. Ireland lost 7 for 48 and were bowled out two deliveries short of their 50 overs.

But Netherlands were never realistically going to have the batting strength to overhaul the total. The top four all made starts but couldn't keep up with the asking rate. From 102 for 2 in the 30th over they could only add a further 66 as their challenged subsided. Jean Carroll enjoyed a good day behind the stumps with four stumpings.

Fifth and seventh-place play-off

Zimbabwe claimed fifth place with a massive 160-run over Scotland who fell apart for 75 and Papua New Guinea handed Bermuda the wooden spoon by winning a low-scoring match by 45 runs