Australia put themselves squarely in the hunt for an ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final spot, after they defeated India by seven wickets in their Super Sixes clash at the North-West University Oval on Saturday.

Rhys McKenna won the toss and chose to bowl first, as the Aussies looked to hit the ground running. The decision paid dividends, and India were dismissed for 87.

Shweta Sehrawat (21 from 29 balls) was the best of India’s batters, striking three boundaries against the new ball, but she lost her partners all too often, as Milly Illingworth struck twice in the early stages.

Maggie Clarke came on and did a similar trick, getting rid of Sonia Medhiya (2) and the dangerous Richa Ghosh (7) in quick succession. India continued to lose key wickets, and Sehrawat was the fifth victim midway through the 11th over. Hrishita Basu (14 off 23 balls) and Titas Sadhu (14 off 13 balls) tried to give themselves a total to defend, but it was not enough.

In contrast, Australia’s chase saw every batter find the fence on at least one occasion. Sianna Ginger (11) and Kate Pelle (17 off 13 balls) added a quick 28 for the opening stand, and that put the nerves at ease in their dugout.

Though the opening duo and Ella Hayward (7) fell before the end, Claire Moore (25 not out) and Amy Smith (26 not out) had enough freedom to finish with a flourish. Both hit sixes with victory in sight, as Australia cantered home with 37 balls in hand.

Having lost one of their group matches to Bangladesh, Australia brought two points to the second stage of the competition, two less than leaders India and Bangladesh. The win on Saturday draws them level with India and gives them a real chance of claiming a place in the final four following a big victory over UAE on Monday.

India, meanwhile, have a date with Sri Lanka on Sunday afternoon. They will know that nothing less than a victory will do, if they are to stay in the chase for the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup trophy.

South Africa hold their nerve against Bangladesh

Hosts, South Africa continued picking up form with a well-judged, five-wicket win over Bangladesh in the Super Six League stages in Potchefstroom.

Set a modest 106 to win, South Africa were in trouble at 41/4 after 10 overs, thanks to a beguiling spell of leg-spin bowling by Rabeya (3/5 off three overs) and an intense display in the field by Bangladesh.

Player of the match, Madison Landsman (37 off 38 balls, three fours and a six) and Karabo Meso (32 not out off 30 balls, four boundaries) came together for a composed 70-run stand which came off 62 balls, which broke the back of the chase to guide the hosts home.

Bangladesh’s decision to bat on the same JB Marks Oval surface on which England had powered to over 200 runs in the morning, met with more resistance than they would have liked. While their batters generally got starts, they never quite could string partnerships, their highest being 31 runs off 33 balls between the Akters, Sumaiya and Shorna.

Two things contributed to the sedate nature of Bangladesh’s progress: disciplined bowling by the South African attack and committed fielding – particularly by the lightning quick Simone Lourens and Jenna Evans – in the outfield.

Off-spinner Kayla Reyneke, who has a happy knack for contributing in all aspects of the game, was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4/19 off four overs and the prized wicket of the explosive Bangladesh opener Afia Prottasha.

Prottasha, who seemed to struggle with injury, cut a frustrated figure in a 21-run innings in which she tried to hit the ball too hard and often missed, with Dilara Akter top-scoring with 23 off 28 balls (one boundary).

Bangladesh’s total of 106/6 was seen to be a touch on the modest side, but Marufa Akter’s opening spell of none for two in her first two overs – and the run-out of Elandri Janse van Rensburg with just four runs on the board – meant winning the match would be easier said than done for South Africa.

Enter Landsman and Meso with a partnership that made everyone wonder what the fuss was all about.

Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.