World Cup berths for Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Women booked their place in the Women's World Cup after comprehensively beating hosts Bangladesh Women in Mirpur. After restricting Bangladesh to an exact 100, Sri Lanka made light work of the target, reaching home within 27 overs. Shashikala Siriwardene had a hand with both bat and ball, taking 2 for 23 and scoring an unbeaten 22 to guide her side home. Sri Lanka's Udeshika Prabhodani struck early after Bangladesh opted to bat, reducing them to 13 for 3. Salma Khatun resisted with 32 but she didn't get enough support as Bangladesh were restricted by tight bowling and fielding. Bangladesh exerted pressure when they took the field but Inoka Galagedara and Sandamali Dolawatte ensured Sri Lanka didn't stutter towards their target.
"We knew today that if our bowlers restricted the side to below 200 we would do well and the best score Bangladesh have against us in 190 which was in Sri Lanka," Dilani Manodara, Sri Lanka's captain, said. "I do think they are a much improved side but today was our day in the field. It was disappointing that we lost wickets again early on but this can only be improved upon. We knew that it was a slow wicket and coming out second to bat it would only get slower and would take turn, but we finished the job and secured our win and a place at the World Cup."
Bangladesh meanwhile will head to the play-offs for ODI status. "Today our batting didn't perform and we should have made more runs but once again the Sri Lankans were very tight in the field against us," Khatun, the captain, said. "We should have batted better out there today, their bowling was good but runs were there to be scored and we didn't make them. The biggest difference I have found playing against the stronger sides in this tournament has been the fact that they have played a lot more cricket than we have, some of the sides here have had well established women cricket for over 20 years, whereas we have only been playing regularly for about five years."
Pakistan Women too sealed their berth in the World Cup with a massive 193-run win against Netherlands Women in Fatullah. Fiftes by Nida Dar, Bismah Maroof and Javeria Khan took the score to an imposing 277 for 4. Maroof and Dar were amongst the wickets as well, taking three wickets apiece to send the opposition crashing to 84. Their captain Sana Mir missed out on a fifty, falling just one short, but her knock set the platform for the middle order to build on. Javeria top scored with 67 while Maroof wasn't too far behind, at 66.
Only two Netherlands players managed to go past double figures. The batsmen were rocked by the spinners and were no match for the Pakistan attack.
"Today's performance was great, we wanted to make at least 250 and we did that, with three of the team making half-centuries too," Mir said. "There was some good bowling which was really tight, the only thing I would like to improve upon ahead of our match against South Africa is the amount of extras that we bowled."
"After we won gold at the Asian Games recently, women's cricket has really taken off in the media in Pakistan and increased in popularity."
It was a much closer affair at Savar, as Japan Women sneaked home by six runs against Zimbabwe Women. Ema Kuribayashi played a captain's knock of 47 but lacked support from the rest as Japan were bowled out for 152. They had Extras to thank - 25 of those runs came off wides. Kuribayashi played her part in the field as well, taking a wicket, two catches and effecting a run-out. Japan's fielding was impressive and that played an important part in restricting Zimbabwe. Modester Mupachikwa was the top scorer with 32. Japan too were generous with extras - they conceded 30 wides. However, it didn't hurt them in the end as Zimbabwe ran out of overs and lost despite having two wickets in hand.