Diana, Sulakshana help India march into WC semis
Basseterre: India defeated Sri Lanka Monday to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Women`s World Twenty20 on the last day of fixtures at Warner Park while New Zealand rounded off their group stage of the tournament with a comfortable victory over Pakistan earlier in the day.
India’s fixture was the second of the day and saw the higher scoring of the two matches at Warner Park with Sulakshana Naik (59) and Mithali Raj (52) both scoring half-centuries as India made 144 for three in 20 overs.
Sri Lanka never quite matched up to India`s batting and made a mere 73 for nine in 20 overs.
Diana David was by far the pick of the Indian bowlers taking an impressive four for 12 in a haul that included top-order batters Suwini de Alwis, Chamari Polgampola and Sripali Weerakkody.
"It’s obviously good to know we’ve now qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament and we’re looking forward to facing Australia next in St Lucia," said India captain Jhulan Goswami.
"I was very pleased with how we performed today, I felt Sulakshana Naik and Mithali Raj along with Poonam Raut all had Sri Lanka on the back foot from the start. We need to carry this good form to St Lucia," she said.
Naik smashed five boundaries on her way to making 59 runs and was mainly assisted in her innings by Raj after Poonam Raut departed for 12 being bowled by Udeshika Prabodhani.
Earlier in the day, New Zealand pacer Nicola Browne led her side’s rout of the Pakistan side in the two teams’ final game of Group B to secure the top place in the pool ahead of the semi-finals of the tournament due to take place in St. Lucia later this week.
Browne, who took four for 15, demolished the Pakistan batting line up with Sana Mir’s side finishing at 65 for nine in 20 overs. Having won the toss and electing to bat only three Pakistan batsman made it into double figures -- Nain Abidi (11), Urooj Mumtaz (14) and Sania Khan (15).
Pakistan’s batting performance was disastrous as New Zealand’s bowling department, including the pace of Browne, was simply too strong for the team from the sub-continent.
"We didn’t perform at all well in this tournament," said Mir.
"The only time we did well as a side was during the warm-up fixtures and this was not good enough for a world tournament. We need to go and improve our game as the standard of women’s cricket has improved a lot in the last year and all credit must go to New Zealand who played extremely well today," she said.
New Zealand took just 8.2 overs to reach the target set by Pakistan but not before they’d lost four wickets including that of opener Suzie Bates who was caught by Mir and Rachel Priest who departed for just two runs. It was up to Sara McGlashan and Liz Perry to see the White Ferns through to the close and seal the victory for the team.
"It’s obviously good to know we’ve finished top of the group but to be facing West Indies is going to be a challenge in the semi-finals in St Lucia. They are the kind of team that are so unpredictable at Twenty20. One day they could make 80 all out and another 180 for four so I’m not taking the upcoming fixture lightly.
"Hopefully they’ve watched today’s game and seen what kind of a bowling attack we’ve got in our side," said New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins.
Pakistan: 65/9 in 20 overs (Sania Khan 15; Nicola Browne 4-15). New Zealand 71/4 in 8.2 overs (Sophie Devine 23, Sara McGlashan 16 not out; Sadia Yousuf 2-9). New Zealand won by six wickets
India: 144/3 in 20 overs (Sulakshana Naik 59, Mithali Raj 52). Sri Lanka 73/9 in 20 overs (Rasangika 31 not out; Diana David 4-12). India won by 71 runs