MOUNT MAUNGANUI: Pakistan’s third consecutive defeat in the Women’s Cricket World Cup against South Africa on Friday threw a cloud over their hopes of reaching the playoffs.
Pakistan came agonisingly close to victory after going into the fixture ranked last in the eight-team tournament’s standings after heavy losses to India and Australia.
They lost two wickets in the final over, finishing on 217 all out chasing a target of 224.
South Africa captain Sune Luus said it was a nerve-shredding encounter for her team, who beat Bangladesh in their opening match.
“You’ve got to love a World Cup game, no game’s easy,” she said.
“I’m just happy with the team’s performance, even though we’re not playing our best cricket yet.”
Luce said before the game she wanted her batsmen to show more intensity than they showed in the win over Bangladesh, when they were limited to 207 runs.
Opener Laura Wolvaardt stuck to the script and shot an aggressive 75, but the rest of the top-ranked players were battling spinners in Pakistan.
The middle order provided more resistance, with Luus contributing 62 and Chloe Tryon and Trisha Chetty adding 31 each.
Spinner Ghulam Fatima and all-rounder Fatima Sana were Pakistan’s most effective bowlers, taking three wickets each.
The pressure exerted by the bowling attack was undermined by four conceded goals, but South Africa’s aggregate score of 223-9 looked far from being imposed.
Pakistan’s running chase got off to a slow start after Shabnim Ismail scored two wickets in consecutive balls but Nashida Khan and Omaymar Sohail came together to build the key 69 partnerships.
Khan left for 40 and Sohail held on for 65, but neither of them made it to the end.
It fell to Nida Dar to try to guide the trailers to victory as Pakistan needed just one run over each of the last 10 matches.
She put in a good effort to hit 55 before being knocked out, while Pakistan needed to run 11 from seven overs and her team came close to missing the mark.