India face a must-win game against South Africa on Sunday to progress to the semi-finals. A no-result will also work in India's favour as they have a better net run rate than West Indies.
England were back to their blistering best as they defeated Pakistan by nine wickets to put themselves in a good position to qualify for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 semi-finals.
Seamer Katherine Brunt was in red-hot form as she and spinner Sophie Ecclestone took three wickets apiece to skittle Pakistan for 105 at the Hagley Oval. Danni Wyatt also enjoyed a return to form to lead England’s chase as her 76 not out saw the defending champions reach their total with more than 30 overs to spare.
The result hauls England up to fourth in the overall standings, one point behind West Indies -- whose game against South Africa was abandoned earlier on Thursday -- and ensuring another win for Heather Knight’s team against Bangladesh would see them leapfrog the Maroon Warriors and secure a semi-final spot.
Brunt kept her place despite one wicket in five matches and she repaid that faith by dismissing the returning Nahida Khan for a first-ball duck, before the first run-out of the day came as Bismah Maroof went needlessly going for a single.
Pakistan reached 28 for two by the end of the Powerplay but a second run-out was not far away as Omaima Sohail went for 11 - off 30 balls - as Tammy Beaumont secured a direct hit.
Brunt would grab another as Nida Dar -- the bowling hero of Pakistan’s win over West Indies -- went for four from 22 deliveries, with a review confirming the LBW dismissal.
And in her very next over the England veteran dismissed the steady Sidra Ameen, who was bowled for 32 from 77 balls.
Ecclestone was the first slow bowler introduced into the attack at the halfway mark – but it was captain Knight who grabbed the first wicket off spin as she struck second ball to remove Aliya Riaz, who went for a misjudged sweep to short fine-leg where Anya Shrubsole gobbled up the catch.
Ecclestone made her mark just five overs later, however, as Fatima Sana nicked behind to wicket-keeper Amy Jones to depart for four.
Pakistan were collapsing and lost their final four wickets for just 10 runs, Kate Cross earning her only victim of the day as she sent Sidra Nawaz’s leg stump cartwheeling before Aiman Anwer and Diana Baig were also removed by in-form Ecclestone with 8.3 overs remaining.
England’s chase of their small target got off to a bumpy start as Beaumont was given out LBW on review for just two as Baig grabbed her first wicket of the day.
Wyatt was impressive as she looked to find some form at the top of the order, crunching all of England’s sevens boundaries in the powerplay. She brought up her half century off 51 deliveries, triggering celebrations but remaining firmly focused on the job in hand and getting it done as quickly as possible.
And she went on to do exactly that, combining with Knight for an 87-run partnership and her fluent 76 not out coming from 68 balls, including 11 fours.
Knight would end on a measured 24 not out from 36, happy to play second fiddle to Wyatt who was masterful in her stroke-play as England chased down 105 in just 19.2 overs.
For England, they must still beat Bangladesh in Wellington this weekend to make certain of their place in the knockout stages, while the defeat ends Pakistan’s outside chance of a push for the top four.
Pakistan 105 all out in 41.3 overs (Sidra Ameen 32, Katherine Brunt 3/17, Sophie Ecclestone 3/18) vs England 107/1 in 19.2 overs (Danni Wyatt 76 not out, Heather Knight 24 not out)
Player of the Match: Danni Wyatt (England).
South Africa seal semi-final spot after washout
Rain washed out Thursday’s game against the West Indies in Wellington after the Proteas -- put in to bat in a match reduced to just 26 overs -- had reached 61 for four off 10.5 overs.
And that result officially fired Luus’s team into the semi-finals, hauling them up to nine points and second in the standings and leaving West Indies’ hopes of progression hanging in the balance.
South Africa’s bowling has been their principal asset throughout the tournament as leading batters Lizelle Lee, Tazmin Brits and Mignon du Preez -- who did notch 38 not out against the Maroon Warriors -- have struggled for form in New Zealand.
Captain Luus hailed Du Preez’s resilient innings at Basin Reserve but admits there’s more to be done if her team want to soar to their maiden ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup trophy.
The 26-year-old, who scored just one on Thursday but is her team’s second-highest run-scorer at the tournament, said: “There's still a lot of batters who would be happy to get runs.
“Lizelle Lee at the top, and our No.3 spot as well. Our bowling keeps hitting their strides, and we pride ourselves on our fielding - so we would like to improve on [batting]. The way Mignon batted - she has been shy of runs in the competition and she needed that for her confidence.
“Everybody's extremely excited and happy to be in the semis. With the rain today, it wasn't ideal sitting around and waiting – it was not the best of starts but we still have to take the positives out of today.
“We are pretty pumped to be getting into that final - it has been a dream for us for so long, but we still need to get through the semi-finals. Needing to play England or India will be a tough game regardless and we need to get through that.
“We will take it game by game - we would keep with our momentum and a win on Sunday [against India] will help with that.”
The sodden Wellington forecast threw Thursday’s game into doubt but after eventually taking to the field in a game cut to 26 overs, the West Indies got off to a flyer.
Chinelle Henry (three for 19) and Shamilia Connell’s (one for 18) blistering new ball spells reduced South Africa to 22 for four before Du Preez led the recovery with a battling 38 not out.
Marizanne Kapp (five not out) briefly joined her at the other end but with the Wellington rain persisting, the match was abandoned in a result that officially secured South Africa’s semi-final spot.
West Indies now sit third but know their semi-final fate is out of their hands, fretting on the fortunes of India and England who can leapfrog them into the top four if they win their final matches against South Africa and Bangladesh respectively.
Skipper Stafanie Taylor said: “It's not the way we would have liked, but we can't do much about it and it’s something we can't control. We were hoping that we would have had a game – but now, we will probably have some popcorn and hope that South Africa do beat India for us to give a chance.
“It's something we can't control but do hope it goes our way. If we go to the semis, you just have to go out and play, does not matter if it's a niggle or an injury, you have to step up. It comes down to how badly you want it.”