Saturday, December 10, 2022

England clinches semifinal place at Women’s World Cup

WELLINGTON, New Zealand ( Associated Press) — Defending champion England eased into the semifinals of the Women’s Cricket World Cup Sunday with a 100 run win over Bangladesh in its final match of the group stage.

Sophia Dunkley made 67 and Nat Sciver 40 as England posted 234-6 as it batted first after winning the toss. Its spinners then shackled Bangladesh who were unable to threaten the total and were bowled out for 134 in the 48th over.

The pitch at the Basin Reserve in Wellington was used and was slow which suited spin bowlers but made batting tricky. Dunkley surmounted the conditions more than any other batter, taking her 67 runs from 72 balls with eight boundaries.

“It definitely wasn’t an easy pitch to get in on,” Dunkley said. “I thought the Bangladesh bowlers started really well, bowled really well.

“But me and Amy Jones (31) just tried to get in there, dig in there and get a partnership to carry us through to the end.”

Left-armer Sophie Ecclestone bowled superbly to lead England’s defense of its total, taking 3-15 from her 10 overs. Charlie Dean took 3-31 and Freya Davies 2-36 as England continued a steady improvement throughout the tournament to claim its place among the semifinalists.

England lost its first three matches in New Zealand and struggled to find its best form but came into the last day of the eight-team round-robin in a three-way contest for the two remaining semifinal places.

With Australia and South Africa already qualified, England, India and the West Indies all had chances of securing a top-four spot on Sunday. But only England and India had their fate in their own hands.

The West Indies, in third place with seven points after completing their matches, lagged behind unbeaten Australia with 14 points and South Africa with nine. It could only watch as events unfolded on Sunday to see if it could hold on to a place in the top four.

England’s win lifted them above the West Indies into third place but its final placing still depended on the outcome of Sunday’s late game between India and South Africa.

India could still overtake it to claim third place and force England into a semifinal against six-time champion Australia.

“We’re really pleased. Obviously the job was to come here and get the two points and qualify for the semifinals,” England captain Heather Knight said. “I probably would have liked a few more runs — 250 or 260 — but the wicket was pretty slow and they made it hard for us to score.

“Sophia Dunkley has been a really great find for us over the last couple of years. They way in which she has matured and improved her composition at the crease has been great. She’s now got her first 50 in World Cups and I hope she gets plenty more.”


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