With New Zealand’s qualification hopes all but over, the hosts scored a 71-run win over Pakistan on the penultimate day of the league phase in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022.

Opener Suzie Bates hit a century at a record fourth consecutive World Cup as New Zealand set Pakistan a target of 266 to win their final group game. And in the chase, seam bowler Hannah Rowe stifled any momentum the 82-run partnership between Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar had built as her first international five-wicket haul ensured Pakistan ended well short on 194 for nine.

New Zealand finished with six points and Pakistan with two. Australia have topped the points table with a full 14 points and South Africa are the other team to qualify with nine points from six matches, while the remaining two semi-final slots are still open. The West Indies finished their league engagements with seven points and wait on other results now.

England and India are on six points each with a match each to go. India go through if they beat South Africa on Sunday while England will do so if they beat Bangladesh. New Zealand can qualify only if South Africa beat India and Bangladesh beat England by huge margins to improve their net run-rate significantly.

New Zealand though put up an inspired effort despite knowing they only have an outside chance of qualifying. After being asked to bat, Bates survived being given out LBW on 17 with a review showing the ball was missing the stumps. But skipper Sophie Devine went in the very next over when she was bowled by Anam Amin for 12, the Pakistan bowler not taking kindly to being hit for six off the previous ball.

Amelia Kerr escaped what looked like a plumb LBW shout on five when the ball clipped her toe, something Pakistan appeared to miss as they failed to even appeal. The all-rounder made 24 from 30 balls but then became Nida’s first wicket of the game, Sidra Amin taking the catch at mid-wicket.

Two balls later, Amy Satterthwaite fell for a golden duck as Dar got another, Sidra again taking the catch as New Zealand slipped to 100 for three.

With wickets falling quickly, Maddy Green provided some resistance and was there as Bates reached the first of two impressive milestones, becoming the first White Fern and fourth woman to reach 5,000 ODI runs.

The fifty partnership and 150 runs were brought up before Green was bowled by Nida for her third wicket of the day, departing for 23 from 48 balls.

Bates’s next milestone followed two balls later as her century came off 109 balls, becoming the first batter to score a hundred at four consecutive World Cups.

The opener’s tremendous knock eventually ended on 126 from 135, including 11 fours, as the packed Christchurch crowd rose to recognise a legend. It was a day to remember for the hosts in front of their adoring fans.

Another legend strode out to the crease as wicketkeeper Katey Martin batted for potentially the final time as a White Fern.

However, she struggled to find a consistent partner as Halliday was bowled by Fatima Sana for 29 before Jess Kerr and Rowe were both run out having added just seven to the total between them.

Martin and Christchurch-native Frankie Mackay provided a late flourish to push New Zealand to 265 for eight, the pair adding 34 from the final three overs.

Mackay would then be in action with the ball, getting the first Pakistan wicket as Sidra Amin was caught by Halliday for 14 to end a promising opening partnership with Muneeba Ali on 39.

Muneeba followed Sidra back to the hutch in the very next over for 29 as Rosemary Mair earned her first World Cup wicket after Devine leapt to pouch the catch.

Mackay had another when Omaima Sohail departed for 14, as Satterthwaite clung on to the ball with her fingertips for an all-Christchurch dismissal.

That wicket prevented Pakistan from adding fresh scoring impetus as vice-captain Nida joined skipper Bismah in the middle, the pair allowing the run rate to climb up past a run a ball as they were forced to rebuild.

Martin took her first catch of the day as Rowe’s first wicket removed Bismah for 38 from 66 to end a promising 82-run partnership and spark a collapse which saw Pakistan lose six wickets for just 19 runs to end their hopes of reeling in the total.

The exact same dismissal then sent Aliya Riaz packing for one from seven balls to reduce Pakistan to 157 for five.

And Rowe got her third when Nida’s resistance was ended when she was bowled having made 50 from 52 balls, becoming the first Pakistani woman to score two half-centuries at a single World Cup.

The seam bowler was then in action in the field as she held on to a powerful pull shot from Fatima who went for a seven-ball duck, Amelia Kerr getting in on the wicket-taking action.

Pakistan battled to the end of their 50 overs with Amin and Nashra Sundhu finishing 71 runs short as Rowe’s career-best figures of five for 55 ensured the home crowd were able to celebrate a win.

It was a day to remember for the hosts in front of their adoring fans even as Devine termed it bittersweet in the end.

Scores in brief

New Zealand beat Pakistan at Hagley Oval, Christchurch by 71 runs
New Zealand 265/8 in 50.0 overs (Suzie Bates 126, Katey Martin 30 not out; Nida Dar 3/39).
Pakistan 194/9 in 50.0 overs (Nida Dar 50, Bismah Maroof 38; Hannah Rowe 5/55, Frankie Mackay 2/29)
Player of the Match: Suzie Bates (New Zealand)

Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020