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WWC 2022: South Africa's nerves of 'steal'

India and England blow hot and cold. Debutants Bangladesh leave a mark

S Sudarshanan
Marizanne Kapp has been the highlight of the tournament  •  AFP/Getty Images

Marizanne Kapp has been the highlight of the tournament  •  AFP/Getty Images

The 12th edition of the Women's World Cup has crossed the halfway stage and 19 matches in, the points table has an interesting look to it. Here's a look back at the second set of games, having rounded-up the first bit here.
South Africa are the must-see team in this tournament. They began the week by beating England in a World Cup match for the first time since 2000. They upped that by beating New Zealand for the first time ever in a World Cup match. And now they're sitting pretty with four wins in four matches. All thanks to Marizanne Kapp.
As the only woman to score a century (vs Pakistan in 2013) and take a five-for (vs England in 2022) in World Cups, her presence at the crease, whether with bat or ball, has been hugely influential for South Africa.
Having finished each of their last three matches in the final over, Kapp and her team are surely flaunting nerves of 'steal', pun intended.
New Zealand on the brink
One of the biggest takeaways from the past week was New Zealand missing the bus to their own party. The hosts lost all three games in the week gone by and are on the verge of a group-stage exit.
After a difficult 2021, New Zealand rang in the new year with a series win against India, where their lower-middle order was in proper form. They averaged 25.7 runs per wicket across 11 partnerships after the fall of the sixth wicket. However, at this World Cup, that figure has dropped to 12.7, highlighting the batting issue that has taken them down.
Chase sequence
While the first week saw more teams successfully defending totals, the past ten games showed that they have gotten a hang of the conditions and are chasing much better. There were only two successful chases in the first nine matches, but that has now shot up to six in the last ten matches. The only team to have won after opting to bat first in this past week was India, who sealed a net-run-rate-boosting 155-run win against West Indies.
Temperamental India and England
And that leads us to the finalists of the 2017 edition. India are blowing hot and cold. After posting 317 for 8, their best in World Cups, against West Indies, their scores in the following two games read 134 all out and 277 for 7. This is after India began with 244 for 7 and then followed it up with a 198. A sub-200 total against Bangladesh then?
England on the other hand, managed to string two successive wins after a forgettable start to the competition. However, in each of those two matches, their middle and lower-middle order crumbled leaving Nat Sciver to play game-changing knocks. The defending champions still have to win all their matches in order to stand a chance to make the top four. Can they do it?
A lasting first impression for Bangladesh
Bangladesh secured their first World Cup win at the cost of Pakistan, who have now lost a record 18 matches in this competition. Having put up 234 for 7, their highest score in ODIs, the bowlers led by Fahima Khatun and Rumana Ahmed restricted Pakistan to 225 for 9, despite Sidra Ameen becoming the first from her country to score a World Cup century. They nearly pulled an encore against West Indies but ended up falling short by four runs. The tournament debutants surely have left a mark and have India, Australia and England as their next opponents.
With stats inputs from Sampath Bandarupalli

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo