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Indian women beat Pakistan, to face Sri Lanka

Basseterre: India registered an emphatic nine-wicket victory over Pakistan to keep their hopes alive for a semi-final berth in the Women`s World Twenty20 cricket.

In a lopsided contest Saturday, India restricted Pakistan to 104 for six 6 in 20 overs and then knocked off the required runs with 20 balls remaining. Poonam Raut was the star player for India, scoring an unbeaten run-a-ball 54 that included six boundaries. Leg spinner Priyanka Roy was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-19.

In another Group B match at Warner Park, New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by 47 runs to qualify for the semi-finals. After scoring 154-7 in 20 overs, New Zealand bowled well to restrict Sri Lanka to 107-8 and maintain their unbeaten run.

India will now play Sri Lanka Monday and the winner will move into the semi-finals. Both teams have a win each and the winner will join Australia, West Indies and New Zealand in the semi-finals to be staged alongside the men`s event at Beausejour Cricket Ground, St Lucia May 13-14.

In the must-win match, India, after winning the toss, gave Pakistan the first strike. Pakistan opener Nain Abidi scored 20 off 14 balls but there was no support from the other end. Pakistan kept losing wickets and were soon reeling at five for 45.

Pakistan captain Sana Mir (35 off 41 balls) and Urooj Mumtaz (26 not out) shared a 53-run stand but it came at a slow pace. Mir was stumped by Sulakshana Naik off the bowling of Priyanka.

India began their chase under overcast conditions but the chance of rain was not going to stop them from reaching the target. Opener Sulakshana Naik was run out for 16 and the task was left to Raut and Mithali Raj to take India home.

The 20-year-old Raut made amends for her duck in her first match of the tournament by producing a match-winning knock. Raj, a former India captain, contributed 33 runs and the pair knocked off the last nine runs required after a brief rain interval at the end of the 16th over.

Raut, who was declared the player of the match, said: "I went out there and gave my best for the team. I just want to keep going and help my side beat Sri Lanka Monday and hopefully qualify for semi-finals."

In the other match, New Zealand saw off the challenge of Sri Lanka to win by a comfortable 47-run margin.

Batting first, the White Ferns scored 154-7 making the most of the strong start given by stylish opening batter Suzie Bates, who made 50 off 43 balls with the help of six boundaries.

Together with Watkins (20), Bates put on 54 runs for the first wicket in 48 balls. Sara McGlashan also batted well to hit two fours and two sixes in a 23-ball 31 while Nicola Browne (20) and Liz Perry (19) gave the late charge.

Sri Lanka captain Chamani Seneviratne took 4-21 with her medium fast bowling.

Sri Lanka came out firing on all cylinders but soon lost wickets and stumbled in their chase.

Chamari Atapattu made 21 from 14 balls and Suwini de Alwis 26 from 24, but did not get much support from their batters.

Watkins, reflecting on her side`s victory, said: `I think our batting at the death overs was good. We scored a lot of runs off the last five or six overs which was really pleasing.`

Brief scores:

India beat Pakistan by nine wickets (Pakistan 104-6 in 20 overs [Sana Mir 35, Urooj Mumtaz 26 not out; Priyanka Roy 3-19]; India 106-1, 16.4 overs [Poonam Raut 54 not out, Mithali Raj 33 not out]).

IANS

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