Ireland gained their expected victory over Japan today (Thursday) to keep them in the hunt for qualification for the 2012 Women's World Cup. Japan won the toss and elected to field, and had to wait only until the fifth over for success when Ota bowled Clare Shillington for 17 (off 15 balls). Jill Whelan joined Cecilia Joyce, and the pair compiled a century partnership well inside 20 overs. Whelan was caught behind one short of her fifty with the score on 137. Joyce completed her fifty, but was dismissed 15 runs later for 64.
Laura Delany, promoted in the order from her position in the first two matches, and Eimear Richardson added forty before Delany fell for 20 in the 35th over. Isobel Joyce came in and both ladies put bat to ball, adding 83 in 7.2 overs, when Richardson was lbw for 57 (off 45 balls) with the score on 275. Melissa Scott-Hayward (2), Joyce (35 off 27 balls) and Louise McCarthy (first ball) fell to three successive deliveries on 288. Mary Waldron stopped the rot, but lasted only three overs without scoring, leaving Elena Tice (7*) and Kim Garth (15*) to get past 300. Ireland closed on 311-9, plenty enough, but they will have been disappointed to score only 23 in the final five overs. I presume Kim Garth was indisposed to be batting at 11.
For Japan, skipper Kuribayashi's ten wicketless overs cost only 31 runs, Oto took 2/43 off 8, Yamamoto perservered for 3/65 in her ten (15 in wides and a no ball), and Nakayama took 2/69. Whatever prevented Kim Garth from batting further up the order, it didn't stop her opening the bowling, bowling Yamamoto and having Kuribayashi caught in a spell of 5-1-10-2. 18-2 became 18-4 as Eimear Richardson trapped Kubota lbw and then had Kanno stumped by Mary Waldron.
Iwasaki and Miyaji added 14 for the fifth wicket before Iwaski was run out by Richardson. Miyaji, too, was run out for 13, and the Waldron/Richardson partnership effected another stumping to dismiss Ota for a duck. Jill Whelan and Elena Tice were tried without success, and Isobel Joyce introduced herself to the attack. After two exploratory wides, she bowled Saito for a defiant 7, and Richardson finished things off, bowling Suda and having Nakayama lbw. Japan were all out for 56 off 23.3 overs, and player of the match (I don't think there is an official award) Eimear Richardson added to her fifty and run out figures of 8.3-4-4-5, comfortably her best in ODIs.
In the other Group B match, West Indies easily disposed of Pakistan. Sana Mir won the toss and chose to bat. She lost opening partner Qanita Jalil, then Javeria Khan (both to Shakira Selman) and Bismah Maroof (to Anisa Mohammed) to leave the score on 33-3 in 17.5 overs. With Nain Abidi she added 89 for the fourth wicket, before the number five was bowled by Pearl Etienne for 53. Two runs later the skipper was caught and bowled by Mohammed, and 122-3 in the 45th over became 140 all out in 49.2 overs, only Asmavia Iqbal reaching double figures. Mohammed finished with the impressive return of 10-2-26-5, and Selman took 2/21.
Pakistan started well, the opening bowlers Qanita Jalil and Masooma Junaid removing Juliana Nero and Shanel Daley inside four overs. But that was it. The in-form Stafanie Taylor struck 12 fours in her 66*, and partner Deandra Dottin hit 8 fours and a six in 60* as the Windies cruised home in the 34th over.
In Group A, Sri Lanka rolled Zimbabwe for 62 in 41.4 overs. Seneviratna came on to bowl the third over, a good decision by skipper Surangika, as she took three wickets in her first two overs. Christabel Chatonzwa and Nonhlandhla Nyathi took the score from 6-3 to 28 in the 17th over, when Chatonzwa was caught off Ravikumar for 11. Ravikumar took two more wickets (10-3-17-3), Senevirata returned to complete her Michelle (10-3-15-5), de Alwis got a notch in her fourth column (10-4-10-1), and Nyathi was last out, run out for 18 (off 114 balls).
Sharyce Saili gave the Sri Lankans a shock with a wicket in each of her first two overs. She then had Siriwardene caught behind for 13 in her fourth (and last) over, but Mendis saw her side home in the 11th over with a 31 ball 35*. Saili took 3/19.
Netherlands, too, had a substantial win over a defiant USA. Batting first, Netherlands lost Denise Hannema, run out for 17 in the 12th over, whereupon skipper Helmien Rambaldo joined Miranda Veringmeier to add 118 in 19 overs for the second wicket. Rambaldo was lbw for 41, and 24 runs later Veringmeier was bowled on 99. The last 14.3 overs yielded 139 runs, Esther Lanser making 51 off 42 balls and Kerry-Anne Tomlinson 80 off 58 balls. Netherlands closed on 329-5.
Tomlinson wasn't finished with the Americans, as she whipped out both openers in her first four overs. Keeper Shebani Bhaskar (19) and skipper Doris Francis took the score to 45 in the 14th over, when Lanser dismissed both Bhaska and Joan Alexander-Serrano. Francis was stumped for 12 off Lanser in the 22nd over, when Trinholder Marshall was joined by Erica Rendler. The pair took the score from 57-5 to 86 in 43 overs, when Esther de Lange caught and bowled Marshall for a 76 ball 12. de Lange then bowled Samantha Ramautar and had Rendler caught for a 72 ball 15. Tomlinson came back to claim the final wicket off the penultimate ball of the 50th over, USA all out for 104. de Lange took 3/8 off her ten overs, Lanser 3/11 off her 10, while Tomlinson was far less miserly with her 3/21 off 6.5 overs.
Ireland must beat Bangladesh tomorrow to record two wins. Should West Indies beat Bangladesh on Sunday they will win the group and qualify for the 2012 World Cup, and leave Bangladesh fourth with one win. Pakistan should beat Japan to finish second in the group, but in the unlikely event that Japan win, the Pakistani NRR should still be much better than Ireland's (at the moment it's 0.75 better), so Ireland would stay third.
In Group A tomorrow, USA play Zimbabwe, and the losers should take the group wooden spoon. Also, Netherlands play South Africa, so they can all speak Dutch to each other. Should South Africa win, they will top the group, because they're not going to lose to Zimbabwe on Sunday (are they!?). So an Ireland win tomorrow should see them into an eliminator with Sri Lanka for a place in the 2012 World Cup.