|Player:||A Chopra, R Malhotra, KL Pulford|
DateLine: 17th March 2009
New Zealand inched closer to the World Cup final with a five-wicket win over India in the Super Six at the North Sydney Oval. Kate Pulford set up the chase with an 89-ball 71 and a nerveless Suzie Bates saw it through after the Indian spinners struck with quick wickets.
The target of 208 was competitive but a 78-run opening partnership between Pulford and Haidee Tiffen put New Zealand on course. Pulford went on the attack while Tiffen played circumspectly. After playing and missing a few, Pulford launched an attack on Rumeli Dhar - she hit her for fours to third man and midwicket before being dropped at 22 by Mithali Raj at slip. The missed chance cost India as Pulford hit her for two more fours in the same over. At the end of 10 overs New Zealand were 47 for no loss, as compared to India, who had crawled to 2 for 30.
India managed their second 200-plus total of the tournament only after Anjum Chopra and Mithali Raj, India's most experienced and consistent batsmen, put on a rescue effort. But the New Zealand medium-pacers, Nicola Browne and Bates, maintained disciplined lines and kept the scoring rate down.
Their 36-run partnership was complied at three an over. So it was left to the lower order to fuel the innings and Reema Malhotra did just that with a quickfire maiden half-century. She got good support from the tail, adding 27 at more than five an over with Amita Sharma (14 off 16) and 44 at more than nine an over with Harman Preet Kaur (13 off 16). New Zealand's bowlers, Bates in particular, became sloppy, in trying to slow down the tail. Bates conceded three wides and a no-ball in the final 10 overs - a period in which India collected 72 runs. But the fielders remained sharp and effected a total of four run-outs - three in the death overs.
Indian fielders - with the exception of Amita - were abject and failed to back up the bowlers by adding pressure at a time when wickets had fallen in quick succession. After dropping Pulford early in the innings, Raj made a mess of another catch - in the 40th over off Aimee Mason - and let it go for a six. Tiffen and Pulford also survived run-out attempts as the Indian fielders threw wide of the stumps.
Being ahead of New Zealand in net run-rate, India can still reach the final - only if they beat West Indies, New Zealand go down to Pakistan, and Australia lose to England.