New Zealand has clinched a crucial International Cricket Council Women’s Championship series 2-1 against South Africa to enhance its chances of qualifying automatically for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.
The win in the 1000th women’s ODI took New Zealand to 20 points, on par with the West Indies and one point ahead of England. However, New Zealand has played 18 matches while West Indies and England, who are set to face off in Kingston in their three-match series starting Friday, have played 15 matches each.
World champion Australia is the only side to have gained automatic qualification for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 so far. Australia has reached 30 points from 18 matches in the seven-round competition that gives each team 21 matches to play.
South Africa is on fifth position at 17 points and left to win a challenging IWC series in Australia to remain in contention.
While the top four sides will qualify direct for the ICC Women’s World Cup, the bottom four sides will get a final chance of qualification through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in February 2017.
South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk said she had been hoping for a better result.
“It was a pretty close series, besides yesterday's game. We've played good cricket in patches but we need to put in more consistent individual performances. We have a very talented bunch of players, we just need to start getting those big scores and wickets behind our names. We have identified areas of concern and will definitely work hard on them in the next few days.
“New Zealand is a quality side and they are led by a quality captain (Suzie Bates). We knew coming into the series that it's going to be a hard battle and it’s been nothing less than that. Obviously, we’re not very happy as we wanted to be above New Zealand on the points table but unfortunately things didn't go to plan.
“As far as I know, we have to beat Australia 3-0 to automatically qualify, which we know is a huge task for us playing them ‘down under’. We have the players and the skills to do it. We just need to execute,” she said.
Bates said the series had been well fought.
“The three games were close. The first game went right down to the wire and we were fortunate to win the low-scoring game. In the second game we were in the run but South Africa was better in the end. In the third match, the end result looked pretty convincing but the whole series has been closely fought.
“That game was massive. We are now sitting at fourth with three games against Pakistan to go. If we play well, we should be in the top four. There are a few other games and we don’t know what will happen but South Africa has a tough series against Australia,” she said.
Bates had special praise for all-rounder Amy Satterthwaite and medium-pace bowler Holly Huddleston for coming up with match-winning performances in the deciding match.
Satterthwaite and Bates had struck unbeaten knocks of 89 and 82, respectively, while Huddleston had earlier in the day picked 5-25 to help restrict South Africa to 188-9.
Scores in brief:
First ODI: New Zealand won by 12 runs
New Zealand 127 all out in 40.1 overs (Erin Bermingham 33; Ayabonga Khaka 3-27, Marizzane Kapp 2-13, Moseline Daniels 2-29).
South Africa 115 all out in 42.2 overs (Dane van Niekerk 37, Laura Wolvaardt 33; Amy Satterthwaite 4-13, Lea Tahuhu 3-41, Erin Bermingham 2-17).
Second ODI: South Africa won by four wickets
New Zealand 222-8 in 50 overs (Suzie Bates 66, Amy Satterthwaite 47, Rachel Priest 31, Marizanne Kappe 3-41).
South Africa 226-6 in 49.1 overs (Mignon du Preez 80, Lizelle Lee 42, Morna Nielsen 5-39).
Third ODI: New Zealand won by nine wickets
South Africa 188-9 in 50 overs (Dane van Niekerk 78, Lizelle Lee 36, Marizanne Kapp 32, Holly Huddleston 5-25).
New Zealand 190-1 in 33.1 overs (Suzie Bates 82 not out, Amy Satterthwaite 89 not out).
ICC Women’s Championship 2014-16