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Anjum Chopra bats India to 16 runs victory over Australia in ICC Women's World Cup 09
Anjum Chopra bats India to 16 runs victory over Australia in ICC Women's World Cup 2009 Super Six stage match

Charlotte Edwards inspires England to a 31-run win over New Zealand in a clash between the former champions while Almas Akram shines in Pakistan’s victory over the West Indies

South Africa secures seventh place after comfortable victory over Sri Lanka

India left Australia with a mountain to climb when it beat the defending champion by 16 runs in a crucial Super Six stage match of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 at the North Sydney Oval in front of ESPN STAR Sports cameras on Saturday.

In a repeat of the 2005 World Cup final, India put up a methodical batting performance to score 234-5 in 50 overs, including 87 runs in the last 10 overs. Left-handed opener Anjum Chopra top scored with 76 and was well supported by Anagha Deshpande (45) and Mithali Raj (44).

In its run-chase, Australia made a solid start but was later tied in the knots by India bowlers who were well backed-up by smart fielding. The home team finished at 218-7 in 50 overs and 16 runs short of the target.

The victory gave India two vital points and put it on four points, while the defeat has left Australia in fourth place on two points. India’s remaining matches are against New Zealand on Tuesday and against the West Indies on Thursday, while Australia plays Pakistan on Monday and then England in its last match on Thursday.

In a battle between former champions at the Bankstown Oval, England recovered from a difficult start to beat New Zealand by 31 runs to strengthen its chances of reaching its first final in 16 years.

Captain Charlotte Edwards produced one of her most memorable performances of her career when she first top scored with a fine 57 (off 79 balls with five fours) to guide her team to a competitive 201-5 in 50 overs. She then returned outstanding bowling figures of 8.4-1-37-4 as New Zealand collapsed from 53-1 to 126-7 before being bowled out for 170 in 48.1 overs.

The victory has put England on top of the table on six points with matches against the West Indies (on Tuesday) and Australia (on Thursday) in hand. In contrast, New Zealand, along with India, is on four points with its remaining matches in the Super Six stage being against India (on Tuesday) and Pakistan (on Thursday).

Reflecting on today’s victory, Edwards said: “I asked the girls for a bit extra today and we definitely got that. We did really well to get to 200, thanks to a late order charge there was brilliant.

“We bowled really well and took all our catches. It’s been a really good day for the girls today. It’s all about taking responsibility. A lot of the girls took that on today. I’m really, really pleased.”

At the Drummoyne Oval, fast bowler Almas Akram and Armaan Khan combined to guide Pakistan to a four- wicket victory over the West Indies. It was Pakistan’s second World Cup win in nine matches with both the wins coming in this current tournament

Almas produced a brilliant bowling performance when she broke the back of the West Indies top order to finish with figures of 7-4-7-3 as the West Indies was restricted to 132-9 in 50 overs. Armaan then led Pakistan’s run-chase and returned unbeaten on a 48-ball 43 not out with three fours and two sixes as the green shirts cantered home with 13 balls to spare.

Almas, later declared player of the match, said: “I am very happy with my performance. This was my best bowling performance in my bowling career so far. Our team performance was extremely good and we never felt under pressure, even though the West Indies are more experienced.”

In the feature match of the day in front of about 1,000 spectators, India produced its best performance of the tournament to date to win its first match against the five-time world champion in nearly 25 months. It was also India’s first victory after six straight defeats and only the sixth win in 33 ODIs.

In sharp contrast, it was Australia’s fourth defeat in eight matches in the last couple of months.

Sent into bat, India made a slow but confident start when it reached 82-1 after the halfway stage with New Delhi girl Anjum Chopra playing a sheet-anchor’s role. In association with Anagha Deshpande, Chopra put on 69 runs for the first wicket from 123 balls with Dedivde dominating the stand with a fluent 62-ball 45 that included seven fours. She was one of the three Lisa Sthalekar victims who finished with figures of 3-52.

With Thirush Kamini soon returning to the dressing room to make India 92-2 in 27.4 overs, Chopra found a reliable ally in Mithali Raj who continued her excellent form by scoring freely by nicely finding the gaps.

The two batters added 76 runs for the third wicket from 78 balls before the partnership was broken when Chopra, adjudged player of the match, fell to Rene Farrell but not before she had scored 76 runs that came off 137 balls and included six fours and a six at long-leg off fast bowler Delissa Kimmince.

Raj soon followed Chopra in the dressing room after scoring a 50-ball 44 that included four fours but the two batters had already set an excellent platform for the lower order batters to launch a late assault which allowed India to collect 87 runs off the last 10 overs, including 44 off the batting PowerPlay which India took between the 43rd and 47th overs.

Amita Sharma was the batter who caused the maximum damage in the death overs when she clubbed three fours in a 22-ball 31 while Harmanpreet Kaur also went on a rampage by slamming two fours and a six in an eight-ball 19 not out. The two batters put on 33 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket stand from just 18 balls.

In its target chase, Australia made a good start when it reached 41-0 before losing three wickets for 12 runs in 25 balls to slump to 53-3. Alex Blackwell (54 off 105 balls) and Jodie Fields (43 off 59) put the home team back on track with a 68-run fourth wicket partnership.

But the departure of both the batters in the space of 18 runs ended all Australia hopes as it eventually finished at 218-7 after taking its batting PowerPlay in the last five overs of its innings in which it required 56 runs for victory with three wickets standing.

For India, Gouher Sultana bagged 2-33 while leg-spinner Reema Malhotra picked up the prized scalps of Blackwell and Fields to finish with 2-32.

In the seventh-eighth position play-off at the North Sydney Oval No 2, South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by nine wickets after Sri Lanka’s batting woes continued as it was bowled out for 75 all out in 39 overs after electing to bat first.

South Africa, in turn, achieved victory in 28.3 overs with Trisha Chetty (41 not out) and Cri-Zelda Brits (31 not out) putting on 72 runs for the unbroken second wicket partnership.

Scores in brief:

At North Sydney Oval, Sydney, India 234-5, 50 overs (Anjum Chopra 76, Anagha Deshpande 45, Mithali Raj 44, Amita Sharma 31 not out; Lisa Sthalekar 3-52)

Australia 218-7 in 50 overs (Alex Blackwell 54, Jodie Fields 43, Lauren Ebsary 39 not out, Jessica Cameron 25, Rene Farrell 20 not out; Gouher Sultana 2-33, Reema Malhotra 2-32)

India won by 16 runs.

At Bankstown Oval, Sydney, England 201-5, 50 overs (Charlotte Edwards 57, Beth Morgan 37 not out, Caroline Atkins 36, Jenny Gunn 22 not out; Sophie Devine 2-45)

New Zealand 170 all out, 48.4 overs (Haidee Tiffen 53, Aimee Mason 23, Sarah Tsukiwaga 23 not out; Charlotte Edwards 4-37, Laura Marsh 2-21, Katherine Brunt 2-25)

England won by 31 runs.

At Drummoyne, Oval, Sydney, West Indies 132-9, 50 overs (Stafanie Taylor 55, Deandra Dottin 23; Almas Akram 3-7, Urooj Mumtaz 2-31)

Pakistan 134-6, 47.5 overs (Armaan Khan 43 not out, Urooj Mumtaz 22)

Pakistan won by four wickets.

At North Sydney Oval No 2 (7th/8th position play-off), Sydney, Sri Lanka 75 all out in 39 overs (Suwini de Alwis 24; Dane van Niekerk 3-11, Charlize van der Westhuizen 2-16)

South Africa 76-1, 28.3 overs (Trisha Chetty 41 not out, Cri-Zelda Brits 31 not out)

South Africa won by nine wickets.

Fixture for Monday, 16 March

Australia v Pakistan, Bankstown Oval, Sydney

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