England will face South Africa in the first ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 semi-final on Tuesday after finishing top of the league with a sixth successive victory, beating the West Indies by 92 runs at The County Ground, Bristol.
Captain Heather Knight led from the front to make 67 while Tammy Beaumont scored 42, as England battled back from 105 for five to post 220 for seven on a tough batting track, thanks to some late hitting from Laura Marsh and Jenny Gunn.
Tight bowling made an already-tough chase harder as Hayley Matthews top-scored with 29 and the West Indies fell 92 runs short of its third win of the tournament.
“That performance was what we were aiming for, we knew it was a used pitch and their spinners would come into the game, they pegged us back but with 220 on the board we were pretty confident,” said Beaumont.
“We fielded and bowled well and won by 90 runs in the end so it’s good for us. At 90 for four it wasn’t an ideal start but we back our batting line-up the whole way down.
“The best part about our squad is that someone steps up every single game, Heather had a crucial knock with the bat and then everyone did their bit with the ball and that’s really important.
“We all need to be on form heading into a semi-final.”
The West Indies unsurprisingly bowled first, and reaped early rewards as Lauren Winfield and Sarah Taylor fell within two overs, the latter one of Afy Fletcher’s three wickets.
A strong power-play had the host ahead as Beaumont and Knight rebuilt, with the captain powering on despite her partner and Natalie Sciver being dismissed before the 26th over.
The wheels could have fallen off when Knight was bowled by Matthews, but Gunn (24 not out) and Marsh (31 not out) started playing their shots to post a competitive score.
The West Indies chase began solidly, but that changed when Kycia Knight was run out by Fran Wilson and captain Stafanie Taylor fell for a duck as her side struggled to keep up with the asking rate.
England bowled 11 maidens in all, and the pressure told as Sciver’s first ball resulted in a brilliant catch by Beaumont to remove Chedean Nation, the all-rounder taking three wickets for just three runs to secure a professional win.
The winner of its semi-final with South Africa will play either Australia or India at Lord’s, on 23 July, with the West Indies long-since eliminated despite ending with a flourish with two wins prior to this contest.
Taylor said: “We were a bit slow getting started in this tournament, didn’t utilise the conditions but we managed to pick that up with two wins which was pleasing. We just weren’t consistent enough.
“We did fairly well against England, we bowled really, really well but our batting didn’t pull it off.
“We’re still missing a little bit, our middle order isn’t rotating the strike enough after a few good starts. We just need to go home and work really hard.”
Scores in brief:
England beat West Indies by 92 runs, at The County Ground, Bristol
England 220-7 in 50 overs (Heather Knight 67, Tammy Beaumont 42, Laura Marsh 31 not out; Afy Fletcher 3-33, Hayley Matthews 1-24, Qiana Joseph 1-29)
West Indies 128-9 in 50 overs (Hayley Matthews 29, Chedean Nation 23; Natalie Sciver 3-3, Anya Shrubsole 1-12, Katherine Brunt 1-18)
Player of the match – Heather Knight (England)
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