Preview: Women’s World Cup round six

There have been reports in the media over the last day or so to the effect that the South Africans still believe they have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the Women’s Cricket World Cup semi-finals. Let’s check that abacus again… 8 plus 6 plus 6 gives South Africa a maximum possible of 20 points. New Zealand and India are currently equal third on 21. Oops. The South African Weather Service is predicting a 30% chance of thunderstorms for Pretoria on Friday, Match Day Six of the 2005 Women’s Cricket World Cup. Only five teams now have a chance of reaching the semi-finals with two days of round-robin action to play. Today it’s: India v West Indies at the Harlequins; South Africa v Sri Lanka at the TUT; England v New Zealand at the LC de Villiers; and Australia v Ireland at Eestertrust.

India (21 pts) v West Indies (16 pts)

Nobody, not even the West Indians themselves, could have dreamt that they would be just one game outside the semi-finals at this stage of the competition. Of the thirteen players to have scored more than 100 runs so far in this tournament, three (Juliana Nero 196, Nelly Williams 118, Pamela Lavine 102) are from the West Indies. They’ve also provided three of the fifteen bowlers with at least six wickets, namely Verena Felicien (7), Phillipa Thomas (6) and Denise Lewis (6). And let’s not forget Stephanie Power, whose eight dismissals put her third on the wicketkeepers’ leaderboard.

India have probably the best bowling outfit in this competition, but have looked decidedly shaky in the upper order of their batting. Jaya Sharma has yet to reach double figures in five outings and the Indian batting has started poorly against all of the stronger teams. If the West Indies are to continue their fairytale run in this World Cup, their main focus of attack should be in the early overs of India’s innings.

Even if the Windies lose today, it is likely that they will still mathematically be in the run going into the final round on Sunday.

Head to head in past World Cups: India won by 63 runs at Nottingham in 1993, and by 62 runs at Faridabad in 1997. Will it be India by 61 today?

England (22 pts) v New Zealand (21 pts)

A bonus-point win to the White Ferns today could turn Sunday’s England v West Indies fixture into a sudden-death clash. Form, however, favours the English. Four New Zealanders (Rolls, Tiffen, Pullar, Watson) remain from the team that snatched the World Cup in December 2000. England has two (Jane Smit and CE Taylor) who took part in the victory over NZ at Lord’s in the final of the 1993 World Cup.

In their first World Cup meeting, at Exmouth in 1973, New Zealand won on superior run-rate. In 1978 at Hyderabad it was England by seven wickets. A tie in Auckland was their first of three meetings in the 1982 World Cup – England won the other two.

1988, and England won by three wickets in Perth, New Zealand getting up by five wickets in Melbourne. New Zealand won by 25 runs at Beckenham in 1993 before the tables were turned in that Lord’s final.

In 1997, England and New Zealand did not meet until the semi-final, won at Chennai by twenty runs. In 2000, perhaps the annus horribilis of English women’s cricket, New Zealand came out on top at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval by 93 runs.

South Africa (8 pts) v Sri Lanka (3 pts)

The 2005 World Cup has been a big disappointment for the home side. Sri Lanka, too, have been a shade disappointing. It’s not so much that they have lost as how they have lost. Their total of 152 against the West Indies was far and away their best performance to date. In a match where pride is everything, this will be South Africa’s golden opportunity to regain some of theirs.

South Africa and Sri Lanka have met just once in the past, on Lincoln Green in 2000. There, South Africa won by six wickets.

Australia (26 pts) v Ireland (3 pts)

Australia will secure first place into the semi-finals when they beat Ireland today. The Question du Jour, however, is: Will Belinda Clark regain her old form? Her 40 runs so far in this World Cup is 3 less than Cathryn Fitzpatrick’s tournament- (and career-) best innings. Apart from Keightley and Rolton, the Australian batting has been nothing to write home about. Their bowling attack is performing better, with the surprise exception of Fitzpatrick herself (3 wickets at 37.33 in four matches). The best thing Ireland can do is treat this game as practice for Sunday’s titanic struggle with Sri Lanka.

Australia and Ireland have met 13 times in one day internationals with Australia winning all 13. In World Cups, Australia and Ireland have met 4 times. They last met in a 3 match series in Ireland in 2001. In the last match of the series Australia made 9/247 then dismissed Ireland for 46, their lowest score against Australia.

Lindsey Reeler has the most runs by an Australian against Ireland with 271 (60 ahead of Belinda Clark) while Karen Brown has the most wickets with 13 (2 ahead of Cathryn Fitzpatrick). The highest score by an Australian v Ireland is 90 by Ruth Buckstein in 1987 while the best bowling figures are 5/14 by Fitzpatrick in 2001.

(Bronwyn Calver contributed to this report.)

(Note: This article was originally written for the Cricketwoman website in 2005. It may contain links to Cricketarchive which have long since ceased to exist. Cricketwoman was a partner website of Cricketarchive at the time of the 2005 Womens World Cup. – RE, 2017-07-21)

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