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Watkin, Kerr choke Pakistan in NZ's consolation win


Jess Watkin and Amelia Kerr claimed three wickets apiece as New Zealand sought alleviation from the pain of missing out on a World T20 semifinal berth with a comprehensive 54-run win over Pakistan at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Thursday (November 15).

The offspin-legspin dichotomy proved too much to handle on a conducive track for Pakistan, who despite a rapid start to a chase of 145, lost all 10 wickets in the space of 59 runs and were bowled with two full overs to spare.

The match was reduced to a footnote even before a ball was bowled with India’s win over Ireland in the early encounter sealing all qualification combinatorics. This Group B game, therefore, eventually turned into an inconsequential third-place shootout and the lifting off the pressure lid paved the way for some exciting cricket.

New Zealand, asked to bat, reverted to their experienced opening pair of Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine and immediately reaped dividends. Bates, the in-form skipper, slammed five boundaries as New Zealand raced to 50 without losing a wicket, 39 off which came in a brisk, if not explosive, PowerPlay.

Bates’s eventual dismissal for a 31-ball 35 – incidentally her lowest score in this tournament so far – brought captain Amy Satterthwaite to the middle. The skipper dropped anchor to allow Devine to force the play even as Pakistan continued to fumble and drop catches to offset what was a decent bowling effort.

Pakistan struck belatedly; Sana Mir and Aliya Riaz took wickets each, in the 19th and 20th over respectively, to keep New Zealand 16 short of the targeted 160-mark.

The strong finish to the first innings translated to a rapid start in the second as captain Javeria Khan came out with a single-minded focus to hit anything bowled short. Pakistan plundered 31 runs off the first three overs, 13 coming off the second over bowled by Devine. But Pakistan’s rails came off the track just as quickly as they’d started in this innings. Leigh Kasperek opened the gates by dismissing Ayesa Zafar and the spinners were soon all over Pakistan.

Needing to keep the scoring rate ticking in the face of some tight spin bowling, Javeria attempted a reverse-sweep and was caught for 23-ball 36. Watkin added the scalps of Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar to finish with highly impressive figures of 3 for 9.

Kerr, who struggled against Javeria in her opening spell, returned to add the finishing touches, claiming three wickets of her own to seal the win.

Brief scores: New Zealand 144/6 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 35, Sophie Devine 32; Aliya Riaz 2-29) beat Pakistan 90 in 18 overs (Javeria Khan 36; Jess Watkin 3-9, Amelia Kerr 3-21) by 54 runs.

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