Harare, Nov 25 (IANS): Zimbabwe's last wicket pairing got the hosts across the line against USA while Ireland and Thailand got two points on board at the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers here on Thursday.
Put in to bat first, Gargi Bhogle and Mahika Kandanala gave USA a solid start in the Powerplay, putting on 38 runs for the first wicket before departing in quick succession. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals, losing Lisa Ramjit and Shebani Bhaskar in a span of six overs.
The wicket of skipper Sindhu Sriharsha for 22 triggered a collapse as the rest of the batting unit fell apart. Tara Norris offered some resistance with a 23-ball 18 which included three boundaries but found no support from the lower order.
USA, who were 89/4 at one point, were skittled out for 131 with Loreen Tshuma the pick of the bowlers with figures of 10-2-19-3.
Modester Mupachikwa and Sharne Mayers got Zimbabwe off to a blazing start, stitching together 57 runs of the target in under 10 overs.
Despite losing both openers soon after, it looked like the hosts were cruising to victory before they collapsed in stunning fashion. Moksha Chaudhary ran riot with the ball, claiming four wickets in a span of four overs. From 73/2, Zimbabwe were seven down for 87.
At this stage, every small partnership was worth gold. Precious Marange and Loryn Phiri added 10 runs for the eighth wicket before Marange and Nomvelo Sibanda put on 18 runs for the ninth.
Once Marange got out, it was down to the No. 10 and 11 batters Nomvelo Sibanda and Francisca Chipare to get Zimbabwe across the line. At that point, they still needed 17 runs. Chipare found the ropes twice in the next over to release the pressure and finished the game off in style with a boundary as Zimbabwe got across the line by the barest of margins.
Meanwhile in another match, Thailand's decision to bowl first worked out very well for them, dismissing Sharmin Akhter and captain Nigar Sultana inside the Powerplay.
In a spot of bother early at 14/2, Murshida Khatun and Fargana Hoque strung together a solid 84-run stand. Both of them fell within a span of 3.1 overs with Hoque getting to her fifty but Khatun fell four runs short.
Ritu Moni's stay at the crease did not last long. With three quick wickets falling, Rumana Ahmed and Lata Mondal steadied the ship with a partnership worth 52 runs for the sixth wicket. Nattaya Boochatham picked up three wickets in the final over of the innings to complete her five-for as Bangladesh finished on 176/8.
Openers Sornnarin Tippoch and Natthakan Chantham began solidly for Thailand and knocked off more than half the runs with their first-wicket stand. Both the batters were extremely cautious in their approach, taking 28 overs to score 97 runs of the partnership.
Bangladesh dismissed both the openers in a span of six overs after which Nannapat Koncharoenkai and captain Naruemol Chaiwai took control of the innings.
With rain playing spoilsport, players had to retreat into the dressing room. The match was eventually called off, with Thailand winning by DLS method.
In the Ireland vs Netherlands match, openers Leah Paul and Gaby Lewis have recently made a habit out of providing Ireland with great starts and they didn't disappoint after being asked to bat first.
The duo put on a 61-run stand, before Caroline de Lange put the brakes on scoring by scalping both the openers.
Ireland lost wickets in a heap and found themselves at 85/5, with Eva Lynch dismissing Shauna Kavanagh and Orla Prendergast off consecutive deliveries.
Skipper Laura Delany and Eimear Richardson had to pull off the rescue act and drag Ireland out of trouble, adding 85 runs for the sixth wicket. Heather Siegers ran through the rest of the batting order with a four-wicket haul, including the wicket of Delany and Richardson as Ireland folded for 199.
Prendergast made up for her duck in the batting innings by dismissing Juliet Post for nought in the third over. Babette de Leede and Sterre Kalis weathered the early storm with a 59-run partnership.
Once de Leede was dismissed for 34, Robine Rijke joined Kalis at the crease. Their 73-run partnership took the Netherlands close to victory, though Kalis fell short of a well-deserved half-century by just three runs.
Needing to go run-a-ball in the last 10 overs with seven wickets in hand, it seemed a simple chase for the Dutch. Two run-outs, including that of skipper Siegers, changed the dynamic of the game before Prendergast struck to dismiss the well-set Rijke for 56.
Needing 35 from the last four overs, the pressure of the asking rate got to the Netherlands as they succumbed to a 29-run defeat. The Dutch, who were cruising at 158/3, were skittled out for 170.