Australia and West Indies women qualified for the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 which will staged in St Lucia alongside the men’s tournament on 13 and 14 May.
Australia secured its place in the last four after 24 runs victory over South Africa in the first game of the day at Warner Park with all-rounder Shelley Nitschke leading from the front.
“It’s obviously good to know we’re in the semi-finals but we can’t lose focus. We still have the West Indies to play on Sunday and we’d like to make a clean sweep on way to the semis,” said Nitschke after a 32-ball 44.
The West Indies sealed its place in the semi-finals after defeating reigning champion England by just two runs. Charlotte Edwards’ side, chasing 123 runs for victory, lost its last nine wickets for 55 runs in 65 balls to finish at 120 for nine. The wickets were shared between Shermaine Campbelle (2-15), Deandra Dottin (2-31) and Anisa Mohammed (2-9), the latter being named Player of the Match.
“It feels great to win Player of the Match as the team needed a victory to reach the semi-finals. The batters did their job by putting 122 runs on the board and the bowlers needed to come good today. It feels great to have gotten the breakthrough for us go onto win the match and make the semis,” said Mohammed.
England captain Charlotte Edwards was disappointed with her side’s performance in the tournament and believed a lot of hard work was needed before the side takes on New Zealand this summer in England. She said: “The middle-order didn’t compose itself well enough. The batters didn’t take their time and just hit the ball around.
“A lot of credit has to go to the West Indies as I thought they bowled really well in periods and some loose shots means the pressure builds up in Twenty20 and time runs out in the end.
“We’re bitterly disappointed. I’ve got a very sad changing room down there but we’re going to have to pick ourselves up, go back home and work really hard ahead of the series against New Zealand this summer.”
In the first match of the day, Australia made a fantastic start to its innings after being put into bat by South Africa captain Cri-Zelda Brits. Alongside Nitschke, Leah Poulton made a quick-fire 39 off 25 balls and Jess Cameron, the star of Australia side’s victory over England, struck 27 runs off 18 balls.
South Africa’s Sunette Loubser (3-22) and Shabnim Ismael (3-30) were the pick of the bowlers while Brits, Angelique Taai and Loubser showed quick reactions with each running out an Australia player during the innings.
As the Friday afternoon fans began to fill the stadium for the second innings, South Africa’s batting line-up did not provide much entertainment despite a valiant effort by number-three batter Mignon du Preez who finished on an unbeaten 53 that included four fours and two sixes.
Australia proved to be superior in the field, limiting South Africa to 131 in its 20 overs and thus securing itself a spot in the semi-finals of the tournament and in the meantime, knocking South Africa out.
In the second match of the day, host the West Indies defeated the current champions in front of a large and excitable crowd in the St Kitts afternoon sunshine.
The host, put into bat, scored 122-8 in 20 overs with Britney Cooper the only batter of any significance, making 20 off 14 balls. Dottin, who in the side’s previous match scored a century, departed for a first-ball duck.
England’s Laura Marsh took 3-17 and Jenny Gunn 2-10.
As England took to the field in front of a crowd of around 1,000, Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor wasted no time and clocked up 65 runs between them in nine overs before Edwards departed for 31 after being caught by Cordel Jack.
Sarah Taylor departed not long after that and only Lydia Greenway managed to make any runs of note, finishing the game on 26 not out.
Returning England player Claire Taylor once again failed to put runs on the board, this time departing for four after being by Stafanie Taylor off the bowling of Mohammed.
Not long after Dottin claimed the wickets of Beth Morgan and Jenny Gunn off consecutive balls and Laura Marsh began the demise of the tail four overs later after she lofted a ball from Campbelle to Pamela Lavine.
As the lower order continued England began to play erratically to chase down the target and despite Greenway’s best efforts the side were left requiring four off the last ball of the final over – something that Juliana Nero was not going to allow as she ran out Katherine Brunt to seal victory for the host much to the appreciation of the home crowd.