New Zealand solidified their place at the top of the Group 2, Super Six standings, following a convincing, 103-run win over Pakistan in the ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.

The New Zealand top-order was aggressive upfront, batting first for the first time in the tournament so far, after they were put in by Pakistan, who won the toss and elected to field. Emma McLeod (32 from 18 balls) and Anna Browning (31 from 25 balls) laid a solid foundation with their opening stand of 47.

They cantered at nearly 10 runs an over in the first five overs, before McLeod skied Anosha Nasir to return to the hut. She was well caught by Rida Aslam, who kept eyes on the ball, even as a teammate collided with her.

The star of the Kiwis’ effort was Georgia Plimmer, who continued a fine tournament with a classy 53 off 38 deliveries.

Finding gaps at will, she helped herself to five fours, as she took her side beyond 150. She fell to the penultimate ball of the innings, as the New Zealanders sought to pile on even more runs to a total that stretched out to 178 for seven.

Pakistan had looked comfortable in chasing 114 against Ireland just a day before, but the Kiwis’ total was an altogether far more daunting proposition. Their cause was not helped by losing Shawaal Zulfiqar to the very first ball of the chase.

Things didn’t get much better during the Powerplay, as Pakistan were reduced to 17 for four inside six overs. Browning, who took the opening wicket was at her miserly best, giving away just five runs in her spell of four overs.

New Zealand was strangling the scoring rate, and only Areesha Noor Bhatti’s patient 24 from 39 balls arrested the capitulation somewhat.

It was too little, too late however, as her fellow batters fell all around her. A measure of the pressure exerted on Pakistan was the three run outs effected by New Zealand. The best of them was to get rid of Bhatti herself.

She nudged one wide of Paige Loggenberg at cover and called for a single, but Loggenberg moved quickly and threw down the one stump she had to aim at, to confirm New Zealand’s utter domination on the day.

Pakistan closed their innings on 75 for seven, still 103 runs shy of the mark that Izzy Sharp’s charges had set.

The result ended Pakistan’s hopes of making the semi-finals, and New Zealand will now wait for England’s final group game to see whether they finish top of the standings, or in second place.

Hosts bow out

South Africa held their nerve and edged Sri Lanka by one run but lost the war in their bid to sneak into the semi-finals of the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.

The hosts went into the clash needing a big win to boost their net run-rate to the point where they could overtake second-placed Australia in their final Group 1 match.

Player of the match Kayla Reyneke (43 with the bat and 2/16 with the ball), three stumpings by wicketkeeper Karabo Meso and a nerveless final over by Miane Smit – who was defending 12 – led them to the slender victory, but the modest total and the narrowness of the margin of victory meant this would be the end of their road in this competition.

The hosts took matters into their hands by electing to bat after winning the toss, but finishing on 134/7 in their 20 overs suggested they had done little to move the net run rate needle.

There were starts but none of the partnerships – which ranged from 22 to 28 – were big enough to give them the kind of launch platform for an imposing total. Going into the second half of the innings at 72/3 was encouraging, but they didn’t have the finisher to turn that into a sizeable target.

Top scorer, Reyneke’s 43, was a case in point of the South African innings: it took 49 balls and only featured two boundaries. Jenna Evans’ 22 (15 balls, three fours) and Madison Landsman’s 21 (12 balls, four fours) were more aggressive, but they weren’t there for long enough for that to make a telling impact.

Credit is also due to the Sri Lankan bowling attack – thanks in no small part to Vidushika Perera and Vihanga Wijerathne’s respective figures of 3/25 and 2/22 – whose tight bowling kept tabs on the South African progress.

Sri Lanka being restricted to just 12 runs after the first five overs, with off-spinner Smit going for just three runs in her first three overs, gave the hosts hope that scoreboard pressure would eventually do its thing.

Mature partnerships between Nethmi Senarathna and skipper Vishmi Gunarathne (37 off 39 balls), and Senarathna and Vihanga Wijerathne (42 off 32) seemed to give Sri Lanka the foothold they were looking for in the chase, but once Senarathna (36) and the explosive Wijerathne (37 from 23 balls, three fours and three sixes) went in quick succession, not even Manudi Nanayakkara’s nine-ball 17 could mask the fact that they had left themselves too much to do.

Group 1 standings

1  India U19 4 3 1 0 0 +2.844 6
2  Australia U19 4 3 1 0 0 +2.210 6
3  South Africa U19 4 3 1 0 0 +0.387 6
4  Bangladesh U19 3 2 1 0 0 +0.251 4
5  Sri Lanka U19 4 0 4 0 0 -2.178 0
6  UAE U19 3 0 3 0 0 -3.459 0

Group 2 standings

1  New Zealand U19 4 4 0 0 0 +4.524 8
2  England U19 3 3 0 0 0 +5.200 6
3  Pakistan U19 4 2 2 0 0 -1.563 4
4  West Indies U19 3 1 2 0 0 -1.332 2
5  Rwanda U19 4 1 3 0 0 -2.169 2
6  Ireland U19 4 0 4 0 0 -3.258 0

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