WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — West Indies kept their hopes alive at the Women’s Cricket World Cup and South Africa secured a semifinal place when they shared competition points on Thursday from a match abandoned because of rain.
The West Indies will regret the abandonment far more than South Africa which were 61 for four when the decision was made to call off the match at Wellington’s Basin Reserve shortly before 5pm.
Heavy overnight rain and showers during the morning delayed the start of play but a match of 26-overs per side finally began at 3:15 pm under brooding skies.
The West Indies won the toss, bowled and South Africa slipped to 22 for four before a partnership between Mignon du Preez (38) and Marizanne Kapp (5) righted the innings.
The advantage was still with the West Indies when the rain returned and ground staff covered the pitch and surrounds. The umpires quickly decided that even if the rain stopped for the rest of the day, it would not be possible to complete the match.
The single point South Africa took from the match was enough to clinch their place in the semifinals with nine from six games. They also now are likely to avoid a semifinal clash with unbeaten Australia, the six-time champion.
“Everybody’s extremely excited and happy to be in the semis,” South Africa captain Sune Luus said. “It wasn’t the best of starts but we still have to take the positives out of today — the way Mignon batted was one. She has been shy of runs in the competition and she needed that for her confidence.”
The West Indies currently are in third place behind Australia and South Africa, having completed their seven matches in the group stage with seven points. Their semifinal hopes depended on the outcome of Sunday’s match between South Africa and fourth-place India.
West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor said her squad likely would “have some popcorn and hope that South Africa do beat India.”
“It’s something we can’t control but do hope it goes our way,” Taylor said. “If we go to the semis, you just have to go out and play … you have to step up. It comes down to how badly you want it.”
Medium pacer Chinelle Henry was in top form Thursday, dismissing Laura Wolvaardt in the second over of the innings to end the South Africa batter’s run of high scores. She also removed Luus and Tazmin Brits to return figures of three for 19.
Defending champion England also enhanced their semifinal prospects Thursday when they beat Pakistan by nine wickets to move into fourth place.
Katherine Brunt took a wicket with the first ball of the match and went on to take three for 17 as England bowled out Pakistan for 105 in 41.3 overs after winning the toss on a greenish pitch at Hagley Park, Christchurch.
Opener Danni Wyatt made an unbeaten 76 from 68 balls and England improved their net run-rate as they reached their winning target with almost 31 overs to spare.
England’s win was impressive and continued a strong improvement after they began their title defense with consecutive losses.
Brunt was superb in helpful conditions, striking early to leave Pakistan 53 for four. Sophie Ecclestone then took three for 18 as England took full advantage of the toss.
Wyatt has been in mixed form throughout the tournament but came into her own as an opener Thursday. Batting conditions were difficult but she chanced her arm and her first World Cup half century included 11 fours.
“I’m really pleased to have the win but a big shout out to Katherine Brunt, who bowled her heart out today,” Wyatt said. “We wanted to capitalize on any width and go hard and go big. It was a sensible innings by me as I wanted to get over the line and get among the runs.”