India eves’ World Cup final hope suffers setback

March 17th, 2009 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 17 (IANS) India’s hope of making to the final of the women’s cricket World Cup suffered a huge setback Tuesday after they lost by five wickets to New Zealand in the Super Six stage here.
New Zealand easily achieved the target of 208 runs in 47.4 overs with five wickets in hand after opener Kate Pulford hit a match winning 71 off 89 balls at the Sydney North Oval.

Pulford’s all round performance - she also picked up two wickets - inched New Zealand closer to the World Cup final. She was also adjudged Player of the Match.

After the loss, India dropped from the second spot to fourth but enjoy a better run rate than New Zealand. India can now make it to the final only if they beat West Indies, New Zealand go down to Pakistan, and Australia lose to England.

On Tuesday, it was sloppy fielding by the Indian women that left their World Cup final slot in the balance.

Opting to bat, India made a slow start as New Zealand medium-pacers Nicola Browne and Suzie Bates bowled a disciplined line to keep the scoring rate down. But half-centuries from Anjum Chopra (51) and Reema Malhotra (59 not out) helped India to put a challenging total on board.

Reema’s 52-ball quickfire innings was studded with eight boundaries and she got good support from the tailenders Amita Sharma (14) and Harmanpreet Kaur (13).

The target of 208 was always going to be easy but the 78-run opening stand between Pulford and captain Haidee Tiffen (78) made it easier. Pulford attacked the Indian bowlers while Tiffen played carefully. They benefitted from India’s sloppy fielding and Pulford was dropped by Mithali Raj at slip when on 22.

Both Tiffen and Pulford survived run-out attempts with Indian fielders throwing wide. After dropping Pulford early on in the innings, Raj again dropped Aimee Mason in the deep, letting the ball go for a six.

Suzie Bates remained unbeaten on 47 and Nicole Brown on 15 as New Zealand made 210 while losing five wickets, with 14 balls remaining.

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