New Zealand, India cement semi-final spot
New Zealand booked a spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 with a convincing six-wicket victory over South Africa at Taunton. New Zealand are now placed at the top of Group A, winning all three matches they have played.
A consistent batting display from New Zealand, coupled with a disciplined bowling effort ensured they were too good for the bottom-placed South Africans. There was no single match-winning effort from New Zealand, instead, all of their batsmen contributed in near equal measure to help them ease past the target.
Put in to bat, South Africa were soon in a spot of bother at 30 for 3 before Cri-zelda Brits was joined at the crease by Susan Benade. The duo put on a vital partnership of 91 runs, holding the South African innings together with sensible batting. Susan Benade departed for 44 in 46 balls, while Brits remained unbeaten on 57 to guide South Africa to a respectable 124 for 4.
Slow left-arm spinner Saskia Bullen, playing her second Twenty20 international, impressed with figures of 2 for 20 for New Zealand.
In reply, New Zealand lost opener Lucy Doolan with the score on 26, but the in-form Suzie Bates scored 24 to steady the ship. Bates and Amy Satterthwaithe fell in quick succession, but contributions from Aimee Watkins(35) and Nicola Browne(24) ensured New Zealand coasted home by six wickets and almost two overs to spare.
India sealed a semi-final spot after defeating Sri Lanka by five wickets in a rain-affected match at Taunton. Mithali Raj and Poonam Raut took India past a modest target, but Sri Lanka stayed in the contest by picking up wickets regularly.
Sri Lanka batted first after the match was reduced to an 18-over contest, but never really got going against a tight Indian bowling unit. Deepika Rasangika top scored for Sri Lanka with 24, as her team mustered a modest total of 94 in its allotted 18 overs.
India did not have the best of starts in their reply, finding themselves in a spot of bother at 33 for 3. Opening batsman Poonam Raut made a cautious yet vital 30 from 41 balls before being dismissed, but Mithali Raj at the other end was more aggressive, scoring an unbeaten 32 from just 22 balls. The duo ensured the required rate hovered around at the 6-per-over mark, before Raj finished the match in the 17th over.
England play Pakistan in the final Group B league match, which will decide who tops the group. England are already through to the semi-finals, but a Pakistan win could affect England's net run-rate, giving India an opportunity to finish in first place.