ICC Women's World Twenty20 2009 June 16, 2009

Australia reach knockout stage

Cricinfo staff

Shelley Nitschke starred with the ball, taking four wickets © Getty Images

Australia booked the last semi-final spot in the Women's World Twenty20 after defeating South Africa by 24 runs in their Group A match at Taunton. Shelley Nitschke starred with the ball, picking up four crucial wickets to halt South Africa's chase of a challenging 165.

Batting first, Australia suffered a top-order collapse, finding themselves at 79 for 5 before Karen Rolton was joined at the crease by Alex Blackwell. They set about rebuilding the innings, accelerating towards the end.

Right-arm medium pacer Shabnin Ismail was the most successful bowler for South Africa, with figures of 3 for 27 in four overs.

South Africa started in a blaze, Shandre Fritz and Trisha Chetty plundering the bowling to give their team a shot at chasing down the target. They put on 73 but those who followed fell off the pace - thanks largely to Nitschke's bowling - and South Africa finished at 140 for 7.

Despite the cracking start to the chase, Australia's captain Rolton said she was confident her team would pull off the win. "They put us under a bit of pressure but I wasn't worried," she said. "It only takes a couple of overs to change a game. Shelley really got us back on track."

Australia now join India, England and New Zealand in the knockout stages of the tournament.

England, recorded a comfortable 63-run win over Pakistan at Taunton to finish on top of Group B. The win was set up by Charlotte Edwards, who scored 43, and Holly Colvin with three wickets.

Pakistan did well to bowl out England for 123 in exactly 20 overs, the home side collapsing from 110 for 5. Edwards had set the early pace, her 43 coming off 32 balls, but England lost their way as four of their last five wickets were through run-outs.

Pakistan's chase never got off the blocks; they lost wickets regularly with only two batsmen - Bismah Maroof and Sajida Shah - reaching double figures. Colvin, the left-arm spinner, was supported by the rest of the England bowlers as Pakistan were dismissed for 60.

It was an easy victory but England's captain Edwards was disappointed with the performance of her batsmen. "We can do better than that," she said. "It's still not good enough, it's disappointing. The run-outs were schoolgirl errors. Every time we seem to have a telling off from our coach we seem to turn it around, so I'm hoping we will do that again.

"There is pressure on our top order to score runs but we have total belief in the whole of our batting line-up and I'm absolutely certain that these girls are going to come good."

India face New Zealand in the first semi-final on Thursday, while England take on Australia in the second semi-final the next day.